Automated gunshot detection is coming to Fayetteville. The community is split on whether it’s the right fit for the city

Cynthia Leeks, 60, lives in a neighborhood off the Murchison Road Corridor in Fayetteville. She moved back to the area five years ago to be close to her aging parents.

She is now the secretary of her local neighborhood watch. She loves her neighborhood, she said, even though it’s in a city where gun violence is commonplace.

As of mid-November, there had been 34 homicides by firearm in Fayetteville so far in 2022, according to data sent to Carolina Public Press from the Fayetteville Police Department.

Even with the violence, Leeks doesn’t want police officers knocking on her door after a ShotSpotter gunshot alert has been sent to them.

“What are you talking about doing? Sending police officers there each time you hear gunshots? I hear gunshots every night,” Leeks said, frustrated with a presentation she had just heard from ShotSpotter at a public meeting. She said it felt one-sided.

ShotSpotter is a gunshot detection system. The company places acoustic sensors in a 3-square-mile area. Those sensors use artificial intelligence to pinpoint the location of loud noises the sensors detect. ShotSpotter human analysts at the company’s California headquarters review the sound data, and then police respond if ShotSpotter determines the sound to be a gunshot.

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