In one of South Africa’s most dangerous neighborhoods, gunshots are now minimized, as a new technology detects the gun’s location and immediately alerts police.
Outside the United States, South Africa is the first country to implement the “shotspotter” audio technology, which is also used to fight wildlife poaching.
A local news source revealed that the technology has contributed for the first time this year to a conviction in a gang shooting in Cape Town’s notoriously violent Cape Flats area.
The City of Cape Town Alderman J.P. Smith who instituted the technology in the Manenberg and Hanover Park neighborhoods in 2016 said,
“About 13% of gunshots are reported by the public. Now we respond to every single incident, very rapidly and its accuracy is between 2m and 10m of where the shot was fired.”
J.P. Smith also said that the recovery of illegal guns has jumped five-fold in the areas where the shotspotter is used and the technology also provides accurate data about gun violence.
The shotspotter technology operates by acoustic sensors which are placed throughout a neighborhood and Cape Town are making plans to expand its use from the current 7 square km to 18 square km.
South Africa Police announced that the rate murder in South Africa was up about 7%, with 20,336 people murdered between April 2017 and March, compared to 19,016 in the previous year and South Africa has one of the highest murder rates in the world.
Ghosts From Apartheid South Africa Hunts, But New Shotspotter Technology Could Curb Rates.
Commenting on the reason for violence in Cape flat, Simon Howell of the nonprofit African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum told the news source,
“The Cape Flats violence has its roots in apartheid policy when colored people (South African term for people of mixed race) were forcibly evicted from their areas and dumped in the Cape Flats, people lost all their social ties that used to form an identity.”
More experts in South Africa say the gangs evolved from that treatment of the mixed-race population during white-minority rule.
“Violence begets violence,” said Guy Lamb a University of Cape Town criminologist.
“Since 1994 we’ve had high levels of poverty, inequality, unemployment … and these dynamics have fed more into the high violent crime rate.”
Lamb lamented on the fact that the national police force is not using the new technology, while Howell however, questioned it as an effective response to Cape Flats gun violence.
“It has its role to play, but unfortunately in South Africa policing is our primary responsibility and that is never going to solve the issue,” he said.
Shaker Adam’s, a resident of Manenberg, explained what life is like on the Cape Flats. He said,
“Growing up, you are literally caught in the crossfire on a daily basis. You have to be careful who you speak to, where you go, whoever you associate yourself with.”
Just like blockchain, it is largely expected that this new technology goes a long way to reduce crime rates in South Africa.
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