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Crime Hardware Technology

Chicago Debates Merits of ShotSpotter Technology 385

Posted by Soulskill
from the think-of-it-as-a-ping-that-makes-bad-people-go-away dept.
theodp writes "After a week that saw more than 40 people shot and at least 4 killed, Chicago politicians and police are at odds on whether to implement ShotSpotter, a camera and acoustic sensor-based gunshot-location system that is designed to pinpoint a shooter's location within seconds. The Chicago Police Department opposes such a move, saying ShotSpotter wasn't reliable in an earlier trial and — at $250,000 for a square mile of coverage — is too expensive. The company says the system has dramatically lowered crime rates in cities across the country. ShotSpotter is currently deployed in two countries and 51 US cities and counties."
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Chicago Debates Merits of ShotSpotter Technology

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  • by kabloom (755503) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @10:27AM (#31724348) Homepage

    Well, if the Chicago police are saying "we tried it and it doesn't work", I'd listen to them rather than the company.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 04, 2010 @10:33AM (#31724394)

    Well, if the Chicago police are saying "we tried it and it doesn't work", I'd listen to them rather than the company.

    Especially seeing as, if it does get deployed and someone is prosecuted based on evidence from it, the first thing the accused will do is turn around and say "Hey, even the local police force doesn't believe in this crap, so how can you use it against me in court?"

  • by zippthorne (748122) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @10:37AM (#31724420) Journal

    Indeed. Unless it's a union ploy and it really does work.

    In which case, $250k per square mile doesn't really seem that bad to me, though, assuming it's the one-time installation fee and not a yearly operational cost. That's 640 acres, and at Chicago's population density of 12k per square mile means the system only costs $20 per "covered" resident.

  • by TheStatsMan (1763322) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @10:40AM (#31724444)
    ...and with it shall go the supposed evidence. The paltry statistic of 244 gunshots in a two month period vs. 177 in another does not indicate anything about supposed trends in gun crime. Furthermore, yearly gun crime is what is of importance, not a few weeks.
  • by plover (150551) * on Sunday April 04, 2010 @10:41AM (#31724454) Homepage Journal

    Well, if the Chicago police are saying "we tried it and it doesn't work", I'd listen to them rather than the company.

    I doubt the police have the most informed opinion. RTFA, the city didn't even hook it into the 911 call center, the way the successful cities did.

    My guess is the police are looking at the $250,000/square mile cost and saying "We could put 4 more officers on the street for that money." Never mind the misunderstanding of the difference between up front and ongoing costs.

    Basing a decision on a flawed study and the opinions of someone who believes they will financially suffer is not a recipe for a good result.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 04, 2010 @10:50AM (#31724506)

    Here's a radical idea: stop letting our society turn to shit. Why not actively work to:

    • Reduce the glorification of violence that our country is so in love with. (This is even apparent in Apple's App Store: you can kill people or animals all you want, but NO SEX CAUSE THAT'S DANGEROUS.)
    • Start, every day, accounting for your own actions and their ramifications on others (i.e., try to empathize), and trying to convince and help others to take control of their lives.

    Your solution is just as close to realistic as mine (studies are inconclusive about carrying reducing crime*), with the difference that yours emphasizes social mistrust, isolation, and violence, whereas mine is an attempt to get people to care about each other again. Yours obviously has more hollywood appeal, but that alone should make you want to re-think advocating it.

    *e.g., [wikipedia.org]"When Lott's data was re-analyzed by some researchers, the only statistically significant effect of concealed-carry laws found was an increase in assaults, with similar findings by Jens Ludwig."

  • by lorenlal (164133) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @10:52AM (#31724528)

    Bitterness: High
    Anecdotal: Much
    Citations: Needed

    I'll believe that you did the work you claim. Even the best software fails for reasons beyond the developers' control. But to claim that it was from 'dick-swinging' sounds... well.. petty and bitter. Especially since the statement started with "Later I find out..."

    Pretty much, you're bitter from hearsay... And you're pissed that they cut your project because of lack of adoption. Sorry. But don't take it out on *all* cops.

    As an IT guy, I'm pretty used to broad generalizations, and I'm pretty used to being on the wrong side of many of them.

  • by bzipitidoo (647217) <bzipitidoo@yahoo.com> on Sunday April 04, 2010 @10:57AM (#31724578) Journal

    Last time I heard of this technology, it worked great in open areas. But if it was deployed in a place with many hard surfaces, like the average city, it became confused by all the echoes and didn't do so well.

    Bats don't have any problem with cave interiors, so it would seem locating gunshots despite the hard surfaces should be possible, maybe even easier with all the echoes. Maybe they've solved this by now?

    There any independent lab or testing organization that can say? Or any other organization that's tried it and can report on their experiences? The military is very interested in this, and are the ones that paid for the much of the early work. I'm supposing the military's opinion would count highly with the police.

  • Re:Or... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by zoney_ie (740061) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @10:59AM (#31724588)

    Kind of meaningless without national controls, it's not like this can be controlled at the city limits in the way a national border is maintained (and even that isn't entirely successful).

    Plus even with national controls you would need decades of strict enforcement to see a difference.

  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @11:03AM (#31724618)

    Well, if the Chicago police are saying "we tried it and it doesn't work", I'd listen to them rather than the company.

    Police aren't unbiased either. If a tool (or effective policing) pushes crime out of an area, you don't need as many police officers in that area, do you? And if it works in one part of the city, it'll probably work in others. That means layoffs. Let me know when you hit that stage of your life where you realize that the police have little incentive to effectively enforce the law.

    Sorta similar to firefighters. Fire calls have dropped in the last 20-30 years to 1/4 of what they used to be; more sprinkler systems, better building and electrical codes, etc. We just don't need nearly as many firefighters these days. So rather than lay off firefighters (or reassign them to work in small rescue crews, or in ambulances as rescue techs) the city of Boston now sends out in many cases TWO fire trucks to any medical or vehicle crash call, putting unnecessary miles on expensive heavy equipment and running up fuel bills.

    But, they get to look busy...

  • by jcr (53032) <jcrNO@SPAMmac.com> on Sunday April 04, 2010 @11:05AM (#31724636) Journal

    Let's see... $250 grand per square mile. What's it cost to obtain a silencer from the friendly neighborhood gun dealer?

    After a dozen or so people get caught with this technology, I give it about a year before all the gangs in chicago start using silencers as standard equipment.

    -jcr

  • by Theodore (13524) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @11:07AM (#31724656)

    Not quite...
    In Illinois, if you even want to TOUCH a gun, you need a FOID card (firearms owner ID).
    In Chicago, all firearms must be registered, and no handguns can be registered after some date in 1982-ish (basically, you can have a shotgun or rifle, but can't own a pistol).
    Open and concealed cary are basically banned in IL, unless you are retired police (in other words, Drew Peterson could conceal carry, but R. Lee Ermey couldn't).

    All these restrictions are unconstitutional. Period.

    I _DARE_ mayor Daley to produce copies of the perpetrators' FOID cards, and the registration of their firearms.
    What's that? They don't have one?
    Well, I for one am SHOCKED that someone who would shoot at another human being just because they felt like it, wouldn't at least make sure they could legally do so.
    (Heavy sarcasm there).

    As for the shotspotter system, I remember seeing examples of this about 12-15 years ago; it was highly touted for a bit, then kinda dissappeared...
    It was combined with all the police cameras that were going up back then (just in bad neighborhoods, we swear... sorry, but now EVERY neighborhood is a bad one, so we need cameras everywhere).
    The last part is not an exaggeration... next time you go through Chicago, look for little blue blinking LEDs on the lampposts... then ask yourself who won the cold war.

  • Re:Or... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rubycodez (864176) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @11:08AM (#31724662)

    you link to a lie, propaganda by the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs that has been debunked. Only 17% of Mexican guns confiscated were traceable at all, the others were from non-US foreign countries and without means of tracing. But you believe the anti-guns lies of a U.S. agency because it suits your anti-gun bias.

    The high murder rates in the U.S.A. occur in areas with subcultures that have breakdown of family structure. No father to raise and keep young males in line means a sufficient number of them act as savages to turn a neighborhood into a lawless war zone.

    That has nothing to do with gun ownership by normal law-abiding citizens, you rabid anti-gun nuts need to stop implying I or people like me will act as lawless savages with our guns because other groups of people have not the maturity or respect for human life to be trusted with the means to defend themselves.

  • Re:Or... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bmo (77928) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @11:08AM (#31724664)

    "Meanwhile, France and the UK and most of continental Europe do enforce gun control laws"

    And meanwhile you *still* get situations like biker gangs in Denmark going at each other with shoulder fired AT4-HEAT antitank grenades.

    Contrast and compare to Switzerland - an entire country that is armed to the teeth in every house across the land, and there isn't mayhem.

    Gun control laws do absolutely nothing to stem violence, a fact that anti-gun people tend to ignore.

    --
    BMO

  • by rubycodez (864176) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @11:12AM (#31724696)

    not amazing at good, huge difference between decent law-abiding citizens exercising their constitutional right to bear arms, and evil lawless savages banding together in gangs who have no regard for human life or for morality. Already a proven fact that lawful concealed carry reduces crime rate.

  • Re:Or... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by theLOUDroom (556455) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @11:13AM (#31724702)

    You're missing the point.
    Gun control laws do nothing to stop criminals from carrying guns, but they do stop law abiding citizens from carrying guns.

    If I'm just a regular guy who wants to carry a gun for defense purposes, I'm not going to do it if it's illegal.
    If I'm planning to commit a felony with a gun, do I really care if having the gun itself is illegal?

    The idea of keeping guns out of the hands of criminals entirely is laughable.
    Handguns use 100 year old technology. Criminals want guns. It would be just as effective as prohibition:
    Someone will set up a shop in their basement and start cranking out illegal guns at $1000 each for a massive profit.
    That's if people don't take the easy route and smuggle them across the border.

    And this doesn't even get into the humans rights side of gun ownership, or the fact that it is guaranteed in our constitution and very much a part of our national philosophy.

  • by plover (150551) * on Sunday April 04, 2010 @11:16AM (#31724726) Homepage Journal

    What good would a system telling you where the shot came from do if the officer is the one being shot? I.e., there already?

    These were originally developed for the military to identify the location of a sniper. If you were on the ground looking for a gunman you couldn't see, you'd damn well appreciate a system like this.

  • Re:Or... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 04, 2010 @11:16AM (#31724728)

    Contrast and compare to Switzerland

    That's because they're properly trained to use the guns while they do national service. You can hardly compare mass ex-military gun control to what we have where they're nothing more than penis extensions for morons and cowards.

  • Re:works in Boston (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 04, 2010 @11:20AM (#31724768)

    Sonic triangulation in an open area: old and obvious
    Sonic triangulation in a dense urban environment with buildings and echos everywhere: nightmare

  • by causality (777677) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @11:20AM (#31724770)

    Indeed. Unless it's a union ploy and it really does work.

    In which case, $250k per square mile doesn't really seem that bad to me, though, assuming it's the one-time installation fee and not a yearly operational cost. That's 640 acres, and at Chicago's population density of 12k per square mile means the system only costs $20 per "covered" resident.

    If this system is deployed, I predict that silencers and/or ballistic knives will become popular on Chicago's black market. If there weren't already such well-known, low-tech devices that can defeat this system, I might consider its merits. I wish we'd embrace good old-fashioned police work instead of trying to find technological shortcuts around it. These arms-race scenarios are only one reason I feel that way.

    If we really wanted to reduce crime, we'd legalize the personal use of drugs by adults, release all of the non-violent drug offenders, and use the (tremendous amount of) extra jail space for violent criminals. We'd have more honor that way too, if we only used police to go after criminals who hurt others and stopped using them to tell adults what they may ingest. Unlike the ShotSpotter system, this would both reduce crime and save money.

  • Re:works in Boston (Score:3, Insightful)

    by stuffman64 (208233) <stuffman@gma i l .com> on Sunday April 04, 2010 @11:23AM (#31724782) Homepage

    The triangulation is the easy part. The hard part is figuring out what exactly is a gunshot and what is firecrackers, backfires, kids popping plastic bags, etc. Being able to accurately determine this is not trivial, and thus is costly.

    Of course, as something sold to the government, there's always going to be excessive markup, because they know they can get away with it.

  • by Low Ranked Craig (1327799) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @11:26AM (#31724804)

    No. That is a gross oversimplification. The point is that handguns are illegal in Chicago, yet last week there were 40 shootings. Let me repeat that. Last week there were 40 shootings in Chicago despite the fact that handguns are illegal in Chicago. This seems to me to be a good indication that gun control laws like those that Chicago has do not work. It's all very nice to say that gee, if we just outlawed guns then nobody would have them and no one would get shot, but last I checked, we don't live in a world populated with unicorns and faeries.

    You'd think that Chicago, of all places, would understand the implications of prohibition. When alcohol was illegal it still flowed underground. Why would the politicians expect that making guns illegal would make the m go away? In fact, from where I sit it has made the situation worse, because the law abiding citizen, following the law, has no gun, but the criminal, not giving a fuck about the law, does.

    Anecdotally, I live in a small town (approx' 20K people) in Arizona. More than half the population here has a handgun (I have 2), closer to 75% if you add rifles and shotguns. In the last 2 years there has been 2 murders, only one with a gun, and that involved a gang that chased someone and happened to catch up with them in our town.

    As I said, this is anecdotal, but in my personal current experience, a high proportion of gun ownership does not lead to more shootings. In fact, it seems to me that more guns, at least here, leads to lower crime overall, which suggests to me that socio-economic and cultural issues are the actual problem and not the presence of "too many guns"

    My overall point is that the gun issue is not as simple as a lot of gun control advocates would like to make them, and that in a city with strict gun control laws large numbers of shootings occur. In Chicago, with strict gun laws, the murder rate is 18 per 100,000 residents. In Phoenix, the murder rate is 10.5 per 100,000 residents, yet Chicago has a strict no-handgun law, and in Phoenix you can buy and carry a handgun with no permit. Since the murder rate in Chicago is 75% higher than Phoenix, I'd say that the laws in Chicago weren't working so good. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_cities_by_crime_rate [wikipedia.org]

  • by Rivalz (1431453) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @11:35AM (#31724876)

    I would say that if they could link this technology with fast acting satellite survailance it would go a long way to reducing the cost of solving a homicide in terms of man hours.
    Since it would be close to the same as a policeman thinking their is a crime in progress I would also think that would cut down on some of the privacy hurdles we all know and love.
    If you had pinpoint precision, plus satellite & infrared / thermal coverage you could do some real damage to crime.

    I doubt it would do much for Murder Rates but it should help solving more murder cases.

    I'm curious after DNA testing was introduced did murder rates go down or just having solved cases go up?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 04, 2010 @11:58AM (#31725096)

    Doesnt seem so bad? Lets play math.

    the city covers 234 square miles. that's nearly 60 million dollars.

    the urban area covers 2122 sq miles. thats 530+ million dollars.

    the metro area covers 10874 sq miles. thats in excess of 2.7 billion dollars.

    But wait, there's more: for this extremely large amount of cash in a city already nearly bankrupt, you also get a questionable, statistically ambiguous reduction in crime.

    Yes sir, that's money spent that is.

  • by causality (777677) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @12:02PM (#31725130)

    If this system is deployed, I predict that silencers and/or ballistic knives will become popular on Chicago's black market. If there weren't already such well-known, low-tech devices that can defeat this system, I might consider its merits. I wish we'd embrace good old-fashioned police work instead of trying to find technological shortcuts around it. These arms-race scenarios are only one reason I feel that way.

    Silencers don't work in real life the way they do in the movies. There is still a pretty loud bang. So what makes you think this technology won't work with silencers?

    If we really wanted to reduce crime, we'd legalize the personal use of drugs by adults, release all of the non-violent drug offenders, and use the (tremendous amount of) extra jail space for violent criminals. We'd have more honor that way too, if we only used police to go after criminals who hurt others and stopped using them to tell adults what they may ingest. Unlike the ShotSpotter system, this would both reduce crime and save money.

    Seems to me, this system is designed "to go after criminals who hurt others". You are contradicting yourself.

    I'm aware that silencers aren't perfect. The point was not whether there is a loud bang. The point is whether the designers of this system were expecting such a countermeasure, and whether their system can pick up muffled gunshots as easily as any other. If it can, are there false positives every time an engine backfires, or someone lights a firecracker, or any number of things that can make sudden loud noises? Even if they can perfectly account for all of those things with 100.0000% accuracy, why wouldn't criminals switch to using other weapons? Right now they use guns because they are a convenient way to present deadly force. If they became a lot less convenient, it's logical they would use something else. These questions need serious, evidence-backed answers before it's reasonable to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in them.

    My point is that if two gangs fight over turf, or if someone wants to murder, a system like this might determine the choice of weaponry. It would not determine whether the deed is done. Please explain how I contradict myself by wanting an effective way to stop violent criminals instead of wanting a less effective way (I get the funny feeling you won't try to explain that one). "You contradict yourself" isn't the fatal objection you imagine it to be when you can't back it up with something substantial. Comments on argumentation aside, when we need to go after criminals who hurt others, we have police officers for that. Those officers would have a lot more available manpower and jailspace if we stopped prosecuting personal drug use. I think that's a much better long-term solution than relying on a single technical measure that invites the creation of countermeasures.

  • Re:Or... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 04, 2010 @12:45PM (#31725474)

    Interesting that you mention Switzerland, because like most of Europe they have very strict gun control laws. You need a permit to buy firearms and ammunition (except rifles for hunting) and an additional permit to carry it. To get the latter you need a valid reason, like working in a security firm, and getting one when your job doesn't require it is rather unusual. The permits are only granted by a limited time and you also need to pass an examination before it is granted.

    While a lot of people have a service rifle at home you basically can't do anything with it apart from taking it to a shooting range without breaking the law. Futhermore the rifle is converted to allow semi-automatic fire only before you can take it home by the army.

    This notion that in Swizerland people are safe because everybody has a gun is a fiction that I heard many times on US sites. The reality is that there is simply less violent crime in general, hardly anyone carries a gun and the service rifles people have in their homes are mainly used for suicide or less often murder-suicide within the family.

  • Re:Or... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by unr3a1 (1264666) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @12:56PM (#31725576)

    Read my other post [slashdot.org] on the very real, and very strict guns laws in Switzerland.

    Denmark's homicide rate is per 100,000 per year is .88
    The US homicide rate is 5.4

    Gun control laws do absolutely nothing to stem violence, a fact that anti-gun people tend to ignore.

    You're quite simply full of shit.

    Unfortunately for you, crime statistics here in the U.S. disagree with you. Just because something works in your country does NOT mean that it will work by default in our country.

    Here in America, the right to own and bear arms is very much a deeply rooted ideal that stems from the founding of this country. It is statistically proven over and over that here in America, states and cities that allow their law abiding citizens to carry firearms have much lower crime rates than in states or cities that restrict gun ownership by law abiding citizens.

    As I have said in previous comments, before 2005 Washington D.C. had a general gun ban. No one in the city limits was allowed any firearms at all. D.C. had some of the highest crime rates in the country.

    When the Supreme Court ruled the ban unconstitutional in 2005 and lifted the ban, violent crime rates plummeted, dropping 25% within the first year and continued to decline after.

    Prior to 2005, D.C. had extremely high crime rates. After 2005, D.C. is no longer in the top 10 list of highest crime rated cities in the U.S. In reality, it's not even one of the top 25 of most violent places to live. The only thing that change... the gun ban was lifted.

    In the U.S. more legally owned guns means less crime. Our statistics prove that over and over again.

    I also reference a town called Kennesaw in Georgia. This town actually REQUIRES that all home owners maintain atleast one firearm WITH ammunition. This was passed in 1982 and to this day, the town sees some of the lowest crime rates in the country. In the first year the law being passed, crime fell 75%.

    Here is the link where you can read about it:
    http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/738709/firearm_ownership_is_mandatory_for.html?cat=17 [associatedcontent.com]

    Guns are necessary to a free and safer America, and are an essential liberty that needs to be maintained.

    "Those who would give up essential liberties for a little temporary security deserve neither liberty nor security." - Benjamin Franklin

  • Re:Or... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by copponex (13876) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @01:46PM (#31725942) Homepage

    Here in America, the right to own and bear arms is very much a deeply rooted ideal that stems from the founding of this country. It is statistically proven over and over that here in America, states and cities that allow their law abiding citizens to carry firearms have much lower crime rates than in states or cities that restrict gun ownership by law abiding citizens.

    I live in Atlanta, Georgia. I'm quite familiar with the standard issue backwater responses to gun control. Canada has even more guns per capita and less homicide rate due to their strict enforcement of gun laws. Same goes for most of Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

    Local gun control policies don't work because they are local. It's like having a dry county. People are still going to drive a few miles and get liquor.

    Those who would give up essential liberties for a little temporary security deserve neither liberty nor security." - Benjamin Franklin

    Benjamin Franklin owned slaves, and the most modern gun technology during his day allowed a person to fire a round every twenty seconds. He had some good things to say, but treating the founding fathers with any sort of reverence would be something they abhorred, since most of them believed that dogmas are evil and that reason was the path to enlightenment.

  • by swb (14022) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @02:38PM (#31726352)

    If we really wanted to reduce crime, we'd legalize the personal use of drugs by adults, release all of the non-violent drug offenders, and use the (tremendous amount of) extra jail space for violent criminals.

    You're absolutely right. Even if it was just marijuana it would have a huge effect. The amount of manpower and money wasted chasing drug crimes is staggering.

    I would go one step further and increase the manpower and resources devoted to solving/protecting against property crime as well. The benefits go beyond not just having your car stolen; if people get their stuff back or a break-in is prevented, I think it fosters a more tangible belief that the police are directly providing a service versus simply "out there" ready to hassle you or providing some abstract service.

    I think too often property crimes are treated by the police as merely an opportunity to increase the case number counter, so that your insurance company can reimburse you. The mindset that "it's only stuff" tends to diminish not only the value people put on what was stolen but it also devalues the work people did to obtain their property which has a demoralizing effect on people's work ethic -- why bother to work hard or obtain goals if people can steal from you and the "system" doesn't do anything about it?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 04, 2010 @03:06PM (#31726554)

    I'm... I'm shocked, really.

    Maybe is because I'm European and the concept of self-defence is so alien to us, but the idea of police forces not being liable for leave you in the cold with no protection whatsoever, more so when an alert call has been made... it's frightening.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 04, 2010 @03:42PM (#31726806)

    Thank $DEITY for castle doctrine [wikipedia.org] and the 2nd amendment.

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @04:03PM (#31726972)

    I've had quite a lot of interaction (non-adversarial) with Chicago cops in that time.

    What would you expect? You are directly helping them. The worst thing someone in your position is likely to witness is maybe some 'locker-room talk' about some crazy shit they got away with that no regular citizen could ever get away with. But that's only going to happen if the cop is blindly arrogant or if they think that you are "one of them." Otherwise, any cop with even half a brain is going to keep his mouth shut.

    I'm not saying all cops are bad; I'm just saying your anecdote is, at best, no more convincing than the AC you responded to and probably somewhat less since he did find himself thrust into an adversarial interaction with the police union, although he didn't realize until afterward.

  • by jayveekay (735967) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @04:40PM (#31727230)

    Motive, means, opportunity... All are required for murder. Guns are one mechanism for providing the means. Even if you could take away all guns, there are still other means available for humans to kill.

    What is the motivation for 40 attempted murders in one week in the city? Is anyone looking into that?

  • by Princeofcups (150855) <john@princeofcups.com> on Sunday April 04, 2010 @05:58PM (#31727748) Homepage

    All these restrictions are unconstitutional. Period.

    Please go find another soap box. Gun restriction laws have been tried over and over, and they are quite legal by the constitution. Thank goodness.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 04, 2010 @06:24PM (#31727948)

    It's not the cost of the hardware. Just ask any electrical contractor. The actual parts installed are typically 10-20% the cost of the job. Securing the property rights to install these, even if the mic's are atop utility poles or streetlights, may also be a factor. However, installing a separate branch circuit for power, running conduit, installing boxes to hold the gear, pulling cable and terminating it, and having it all done proper to code... that's what drives up the cost of any municipal or commercial electrical project. Blame the IBEW if you'd like, but there's prolly a generic commercial electrical contractor to do the actual install and a separate low-voltage contractor to finish and setup the microphone and configure the controller. Plus there's drawings to be done first (think AutoCAD), plus paperwork (submittals, as-built's, operation & maintenance manuals, permits, bonds....)... All that adds up and is counted as labor. Plus those contractors want some profit too, so there's markup. $250k per sq. mile is all mostly labor.

    Sometimes I wish we could install stuff like homeowners.... nail it to the side of the house, plug in to the nearest outlet, drill a hole thru the wall to fish some cat5 or whatever, get a drink, and call it a day

  • by TapeCutter (624760) * on Sunday April 04, 2010 @07:07PM (#31728310) Journal
    "The problem originated on high ( started at the chief and snowballed )."

    That's the problem in a nutshell and it is certainly NOT unique to cops or government departments. If the boss doesn't buy it you're dead in the water, the number one reason for the boss not to buy it is office politics. I have found the software industry much less stressfull by ignoring executive politics and just being happy that I get paid either way.
  • by gmhowell (26755) <gmhowell@gmail.com> on Sunday April 04, 2010 @07:47PM (#31728598) Homepage Journal

    But don't take it out on *all* cops.

    The troublesome 99% of cops sure do make the rest look bad.

  • Re:works in Boston (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sir_Lewk (967686) <sirlewk@gmai l . com> on Sunday April 04, 2010 @08:08PM (#31728752)

    The difference between a system like ShotSpotter and a full CCTV system may be a large one technologically, but politically it is very very small. All it takes is for one go-getter politician to say "well we could have caught the criminal, but unfortunately footage from after the incident only painted a partial picture."

    The above paragraph is an opinion, not a statement of fact. It happens to be an opinion that I hold, and you are free to disagree with it if you chose to do so. You will find that often-times on the internet, there will be people that hold different opinions than you. This is something you should learn to deal with.

    Concerns that you do not personally share cannot be blindly written off as attempts to derail the conversation. The potential societal impact of installing a system like ShotSpotter is very much relevant. If you disagree, you may feel free to excuse yourself from this aspect of the discussion, or even moderate it 'Offtopic' if you happen to have modpoints. Nobody is compelling you to participate.

    Telling people to "shut the fuck up" is far more destructive to the conversation than anything you are complaining about. If you can't act maturely, expect to be ignored by the adults here. I will be doing so in the future.

Nothing will dispel enthusiasm like a small admission fee. -- Kim Hubbard

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