City leaders looking to implement new tech to deter gun violence in St. Pete

City leaders are looking to implement new technology to deter gun violence in St. Peter.

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  • Now city leaders and community leaders are joining forces to turn the situation around.

City and community leaders suggest new technology to help deter gun violence in St. Petersburg.

@BN9: City leaders are looking to implement new technology to deter gun violence in St. Peter.

ST. PETERSBURG — 

Gun violence has recently plagued the St. Petersburg area. 

Last week, two men were shot in part of a rash of shootings in St. Pete. Now city leaders and community leaders are joining forces to turn the situation around. 

Last Monday, Jan. 23, Emmanuel Sims, 19, was shot and killed in the parking lot of the Rajax Food Mart while sitting in his car. 

Two days later, police found a man with multiple gun shot wounds laying outside a liquor store on 16th Street South. 

And those are just a couple of recent shooting incidents. 

City and community leaders may have come up with a solution. It’s called ShotSpotter.  

City councilman Karl Nurse said ShotSpotter uses sensors to detect, locate and alert law enforcement when shots are fired in real time. 

The technology is already being used in Hillsborough County. 

Councilman Nurse conducted a phone survey with 1,000 residents to see what they think, and know, about the ShotSpotter technology. 

St. Petersburg residents seemed to have mixed opinions about it. 

“The shots are fired. It may help them catch the criminals, but it’s not going to stop the crime,” said resident Bill Lemieux. 

“A lot of the shootings and violence that goes on, it’s like between friends and family and different stuff. But in the area when we’re out shopping, we like to be safe, when we’re out at the park, we like to be safe. Everywhere, we like to be safe,” said resident Carlos Lewis. 

Nurse said safety is key, and with data showing that only 20 percent of gunfire is even reported in high crime areas, he feels ShotSpotter is what St. Pete needs. 

Nurse said, “You end up with a message to the possible shooters that if you fire a gun in this area within 30 seconds the police are going to begin to head in your direction.” 

One concern St. Petersburg police have is about having adequate staff to respond to all of the additional calls they’ll receive. 

However, Nurse said that is a separate issue that would be worked out. 

Councilman Nurse is hoping to get the funding for ShotSpotter technology added to this year’s budget — which will be finalized in the fall. 

He said it would cost about $700,000 for the first three years. 

City leaders looking to implement new tech to deter gun violence in St. Pete

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