Tory wants city to implement gunshot detection technology to help address gun violence
Codi Wilson, CP24.com
Published Thursday, July 19, 2018 1:55PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, July 19, 2018 6:58PM EDT
Mayor John Tory says he would like the city to implement new gunshot detection technology to help address the ongoing gun violence in Toronto.
The Toronto Police Services Board voted unanimously Thursday to back a number of proposals put forward by the mayor.
One of those measures is the implementation of ShotSpotter, an audio-sensing gunshot detection service. ShotSpotter is used in multiple U.S. cities, including Chicago, Denver, and New York.
“The technology essentially uses microphones to triangulate sound waves so that they can accurately determine where a gunshot has come from,” Tory said ahead of the meeting.
“Police in New York have found that ShotSpotter allows them to seize more guns and shell casings and bullet fragments that have been left at shooting scenes and this in turn helps them to make more arrests because they have this evidence. They are at scenes of firearm discharges earlier and they can connect separate shooting incidents must faster.”
The mayor said this will be especially helpful to Toronto police as they are often reliant on people hearing the gunshots and then taking an additional step of reporting the incident to police.
“It also will give officers crucial information such as how many shots have been fired and if there is potentially more than one shooter, it will likely give them more information in that regard as well,” Tory said.
Another technological investment approved by the board is doubling the number of CCTV cameras across the city.
Tory said the cameras would be placed in public spaces where gang and shooting activity often take place.
“We are not seeking to saturate neighbourhoods with cameras,” Tory added.
“This will be a useful tool to both discourage that kind of activity but also to make sure that for investigative and crime prevention purposes, those cameras are deployed.”
The cost for both initiatives, Tory said, is estimated to be up to $4 million in 2018 and 2019.
He said he expects that most, if not all, of the cost of the two initiatives will be offset by provincial and federal funding.
The initiatives come after the mayor recently announced additional funds for community programs and Police Chief Mark Saunders confirmed that adjustments would be made over the next two months to make sure more officers were added to the night shift to help reduce gun violence.
The measures will be put forward to city council for approval at its meeting next week.