MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis Police Department is trying to tackle gun violence with technology.
MPD is using a new system called ShotSpotter in the Orange Mound community and the system uses a series of small audio sensors installed on top of light posts and buildings, and records gunfire.
“If this is the only we’re going address crime, I’m really disheartened,” said Britney Thornton.
Thornton is an Orange Mound native and founder of nonprofit, Juice Orange Mound.
She had mixed feelings about MPD’s latest partnership with ShotSpotter.
Director Mike Rallings said the system will help reduce violence. He said ShotSpotter technicians will alert officers almost immediately after tracking gunshots.
“It’s faster more accurate response to the scene, better recovery of any type of evidence. We’re about to get there and interview witnesses faster and most important it helps us identify any victims,” said Rallings.
Thornton said that’s helpful, but she believes it isn’t the only tool to address crime.
“You know cameras and technology can be great but they’re usually more of a reaction,” she said. “We need some more preventative, proactive measures to build relationships with people and get them connected to resources.”
Rallings said they will review data from the program after 30 and 90 day periods.
Thornton said this information should be released to Orange Mound residents so they can use it to improve the neighborhood.
“People like our brand, they an idea of a report saying this is an Orange Mound pilot but you never produce data so we can learn for ourselves and from our own issues so it just keeps us in this study phase,” she said.
MPD using a $650,000 federal grant over the next three years for ShotSpotter.
Thornton said she also wants to see the city look for federal grants to address other root issues of crime like housing, public and mental health.