Port Elizabeth – The Nelson Mandela Bay municipality has announced that it will be rolling out Shot Spotter technology in gang-ridden areas of the metro.
The announcement comes amidst escalating violence between gangs, predominantly in the Northern Areas.
“This measure could see the illegal use of firearms and associated violence drastically reduced in some of the city’s most dangerous areas,” said Mandela Bay mayor, Athol Trollip.
Trollip said the technology will be installed at secret locations over the next two months and will be jointly monitored by Metro Police and SAPS.
Piloted in the City of Cape Town, the gun shot detection technology immediately notifies nearby law enforcement each time a firearm is discharged, dispatching police to the exact location of the gunshot.
In its first three months, the establishment of Shot Spotter in Manenberg, Cape Town, saw the total number of incidents drop from 211 to 31.
“Not only does this drastically reduce response time, but it allows for analysis of shooting patterns to inform policing operations,” said safety and security political head, John Best.
Best said they were hoping for similar successes, particularly in the Northern Areas, where gang-related gun violence was most devastating.
“If successful, this coalition government will push for future expansion of the operation,” he said.
Gang violence is the police’s responsibility
Trollip noted that it was still the responsibility and primary mandate of the police to fight crime, investigate incidents and open criminal cases against suspects.
“The municipality is extending itself to make this is a safe city, and we expect SAPS to meet us half way, at the very least,” he said.
Trollip said with a larger SAPS operation, more equipment and an expanding multi-pronged support from the Metro, gang-related crimes would plummet.
“Again, I request the police minister, Fikile Mbalula, to witness first-hand the situation on the ground in parts of this city.”
“Perhaps then the minister will grasp the urgency required in deploying additional resources and constructing at least one new police station in the area,” he said.
Trollip said the municipality would continue in its endeavours to address crime, which was evidenced by the opening of two new satellite metro police stations, frequent hot spot visible policing, the launch of a ghost squad and now the introduction of shot spotter.