Councilman Warrick, District 2, has a lot of upset residents on the failure of spotshotter and the price tag it cost the district- $270,000!!
Here is what FOX San Antonio, Reporter Ashlei King wrote:
SAN ANTONIO - Every day when Pastor Richard Dukes goes to the Israelite Baptist Church, he has to go through burglar bars just to get to the front door.
"If not, they'll come in and take everything we got," Pastor Dukes said.
His church is on Dawson Street near North New Braunfels Avenue, which is one of the most dangerous areas on the East Side.
"It's like a war zone,” Dukes explained.
Hearing gunshots multiple times per day at all hours of the day is the norm.
"Is that a way to live? No, it's not. It's so many bullets that they fire. They don't fire one or two. They fire 15, 16 shots,” he said.
That is why Dukes applauded the city for trying to intervene. He said when he first heard about District 2 City Councilman Alan Warrick's plan to bring ShotSpotter to one East Side area and one West Side area, he was excited about it. Shotspotter is a device that uses acoustic listening sensors to detect explosive sounds, like gunfire. It is supposed to alert police where the shots were fired within 30 seconds.
"The purpose of ShotSpotter is to make sure people stop using their guns in ways that are illegal and unconducive," Warrick said.
He said the purpose of the system is to also reduce police response times, but Dukes does not believe that is happening.
"I think that's a joke. I'll tell you why it's a joke because the response to it isn't real,” Dukes said. “It's just like a phone call. When you call them it's 15 minutes later when they get here."
While the San Antonio Police Department would not specify exactly where ShotSpotter is located, FOX San Antonio did ask SAPD about response times.
The department said response times for all shooting calls, gun calls and ShotSpotter alerts in the east zone have gone from 10 minutes 21 seconds to 9 minutes 32 seconds, which is a 49 second decrease. The response times in the west zone have dropped from 10 minutes 43 seconds to 9 minutes 17 second, which is a one minute 26 second drop.
"It's a crime fighting tool for us. We're in the evaluation phase right now, so we're trying to figure out exactly how that works with us,” SAPD Sgt. Jesse Salame said. “Ultimately, I think we'd like to have it to solve some cases for us."
ShotSpotter was enacted in April. According to SAPD records, between April and December 14, 2016, the system was activated 402 times and has led to the recovery of two weapons and one arrest.
"The purpose of ShotSpotter is not to arrest everyone in the neighborhood,” Warrick said. “It’s more of a deterrent factor as opposed to an arrest factor in its current state."
The pilot program came with a $270,000 price tag. To some taxpayers, it is not worth their money, but Warrick argued otherwise.
“Every emergency room visit when someone gets shot is about $50,000 to $100,000, so if we can stop three of those from happening then we've already paid for the program and that's between the east and west sides of San Antonio," Warrick said.
"I applaud our effort, but it's effortless because we're not fixing the problem," Dukes said.
FOX San Antonio learned about an additional arrest due to ShotSpotter. It happened after FOX San Antonio requested information from police.
Warrick’s office also said response times for the month of January have decreased to an average of 4 minutes 36 seconds in the east zone. Warrick said the improvement came after he requested SAPD to upgrade its response to a “Priority 1” level, which allows officers to use their lights and sirens to quickly get to the scene. He also said an officer is designated to responding to ShotSpotter activations 24 hours per day.
The City Council is expected to discuss the future of ShotSpotter after the pilot program ends in April.