ACLU of Washington Statement Regarding Removal of Flawed and Dangerous Gunshot Detection System from Seattle Budget

News Release: 
Tuesday, November 29, 2022
SEATTLE – Today, Seattle City Council approved a budget for 2023-2024 that does not include funding for gunshot detection systems, such as ShotSpotter, which has been proven to be ineffective at preventing violence, does not facilitate justice, endangers privacy, and can escalate interactions between police and the communities that they serve.

Jennifer Lee, technology and liberty project manager at the ACLU of Washington had this reaction:

“We are pleased that the Seattle City Council approved a budget without funding for harmful and flawed gunshot detection systems, like ShotSpotter. Experiences in other cities have shown that installing microphones and sensors through neighborhoods does little to prevent crime or bring perpetrators to justice, but rather chills free speech and threatens privacy. We appreciate the City Council’s fidelity to the Seattle Surveillance Ordinance, which requires that the City of Seattle run surveillance technologies, like ShotSpotter, through privacy protections before budgeting for such technologies. Eliminating funding for gunshot detection systems in this biennial budget will help to safeguard the public from bearing the expense and the negative impacts of unnecessary and invasive technologies in our neighborhoods that will do little to keep us safe from gun violence.”