By Eleanor Tabone, WWL4
July 28, 2023
As violent crime continues to cause pain and bloodshed across our city, New Orleans Councilman Oliver Thomas is proposing a tool to catch those firing guns.
ShotSpotter alerts police on where gun fire is coming from. Some say, however, the police department simply doesn’t have the manpower to send officers out to ‘shots fired’ calls.
ShotSpotter can pick up gunfire and determine where it came from. Councilman Oliver Thomas is proposing the technology be implemented along I-10 in New Orleans East.
He says Jefferson Parish is using it, so why shouldn’t we. The Councilman told Eyewitness News, “Any tool we can put in the tool bag to help us identify where gun shots are coming from and to keep people safe is a tool New Orleans ought to have in its public safety tool bag.”
He went on to say, “There is so much indiscriminate shooting on the interstate, in our communities.”
In 2017 Our partners at Nola.com reported the city planned to test ShotSpotter as part of Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s $40 million public safety initiative.
Fast forward seven years, and Rafael Goyeneche with the Metropolitan Crime Commission, says officers can’t respond timely as is.
Goyeneche said, “I think there are greater priorities than shot fired technologies for the police department.”
He also said, “The reality is we’re probably closer to 800 officers than to 900 officers… We don’t have enough police to deploy to the scene right now.”
A resident who asked we protect says, he got into a car accident at the intersection of S. Carrollton and Canal St. He says the driver who hit him took off, but the accident happened right under the city’s crime camera.
“The crime camera right there for sure is going to be able to get them because they pulled right on the side of it,” he said. “So I told that to the officer. He called whoever handles the camera, and they quite frankly tell him there’s nothing he can do.”
The resident we spoke to is asking why would the city spend more money on crime fighting technologies, when the technologies we have in place aren’t even working.
“The cameras are there to protect the residents of the city and a crime was committed and there was nothing they were able to, or wanted to do, to help me in that situation.”
While some cast doubt on the reliability of the cameras, Councilman Thomas believes the more technology we have, the greater chance the city has to fight crime, “I don’t think public safety now is just about how many men and women you have anymore, I think it’s about all those tools we can use,” he said.
Thomas hopes by September ShotSpotter will meet with community members to discuss this technology.