Local officials are increasingly turning to a gunshot detection technology to help address gun violence, despite serious concerns over its accuracy and potential side effects.


More than 130 cities and towns across the country have now installed the ShotSpotter systems, according to a report released Thursday from the group Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (STOP). That’s up from about 85 cities in 2018.


That expansion has been aided by federal funding, with several cities including Detroit, New Haven, Conn., and Albuquerque, N.M., signing big contracts with ShotSpotter using money from the American Rescue Plan Act. The increase could accelerate with new funding that’s been allocated for school safety after the recent shooting in Uvalde, Texas.


“At a time when elected officials are facing more pressure than ever to combat gun violence and we see cities spending hundreds of millions of dollars on gun prevention tech, including all the new money that Congress authorized after Uvalde, we have to look at the fact that this technology — ShotSpotter — is expensive, dangerous and just doesn’t work,” Albert Fox Cahn, STOP’s executive director, said in an interview.