The relentless rise in violent crime in Chicago in recent years has been high on the media agenda. However, a modest fall in offending recorded this spring may be attributable to new technology.
Chicago Police noted a modest reduction in shootings for the city of Chicago at the end of April.
A report on WTTW noted shootings are down 13 percent in the city. April was the second month running that shootings have decreased citywide.
While police recorded 45 murders and 308 shooting victims, the figure was 9 percent fewer victims compared to this time in 2016.
The report stated the use of new predictive technology in some of the city's more crime-ridden districts may be having an impact. The department detailed the expansion of its Strategic Decision Support Centers (SDSCs) in six districts.
The report described these support centers as “nerve centers” where police officers can track trends across a range of software platforms that inform them where crime is occurring in the district or where it could potentially happen.
The systems in question include ShotSpotter. Although the district has been using the tool for some time, it has only adopted it recently in combination with other tools.
ShotSpotter is described as an “ear in the sky.” The system detects when shots are fired. Within just 30 seconds it can relay the location with an accuracy of 25 yards to police officers in the nearest SDSC. On its website, ShotSpotter claims the system helped reduce gun violence in San Francisco by 50 percent.
CPD Lt. Patrick O’Donnell of Chicago police said in the past police would have to scour three or four blocks following reports of gunshots. The ShotSpotter system gives greater pinpoint accuracy.
The police department is also using more eyes in the sky. When police dispatch receives a call about criminal activity in a certain area, it’s now able to geo-locate it on a map, pull up cameras and see what’s happening before sending in officers.
The cameras allow police to see car plates and even mugshots of known gang members associated with a certain area.
Technology is rapidly changing the way police operate, states Police Magazine. However, criminals are also using the latest technology to operate and are taking advantage of communications methods such as social media.
This fast-moving climate creates a challenge for police, prosecutors and defense attorneys and raises questions about the legitimacy of new means of evidence-gathering.
Our experienced Chicago criminal defense attorneys keep ahead of technological advances. Read more about our attorneys here or call us at (312) 229-0008.