Local News

Durham leaders consider technlogy to help curb spike in gun violence

Posted August 11, 2020 5:50 p.m. EDT
Updated August 11, 2020 6:27 p.m. EDT

— Durham police are investigating three deadly shootings that occurred in less than 15 hours. The cases are separate and involve different circumstances.

This has community leaders calling for solutions. One city council member is pushing for technology to help.

This technology would place sensors across the city to pick up potential gunshot sounds. It locates and alerts police in real time which could help curb gun violence in the streets.

The three incidents are the latest in what has already been a violent summer for Durham.

“It’s terrible. It’s sad. I wish I could do more,” said Michelle Wahome, a longtime Durham resident.

“It’s literally a matter of life or death hanging in the balance,” added Council Member Mark-Anthony Middleton.

Middleton has lobbied for over a year to bring ‘Shot Spotter’ technology to the Bull City in response. “Shot spotter essentially does what any sensible human being should do. It calls the police,” he said.

Using sensors, it can help police get to the scene quicker and catch repeat shooters.

However, privacy and cost concerns brought a little push back in the past.

“How you much would you be willing to spend to protect your child and keep your neighborhood safe," Middleton asked.

Within three weeks, children have been caught in the crossfire, including 12-year-old Tyvien McLean.

Middleton said in the wake of recent events, the company offered to do a free six month trial pilot program.

“With this technology, absolutely that’s what they need to do,” said Wahome.

It’s a closer step toward a solution with focus remaining on reducing gun violence.

“As a government, we have a moral obligation to do everything we can do to create an environment where these things will become less likely,” added Middleton.

Durham City Council must first vote and approve the Shot Spotter program before it can be implemented. They will begin this process next month.

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