Gun violence goes unreported by residents

Monday, June 25th, 2018

This Atlantic piece on the normalization of gun violence in poor communities seems like a decent political Roschach test:

Ralph A. Clark remembers the first time he went for a ride-along with police. He was in Baltimore, and a teenager had been killed. He says what shocked him was not the sight of the body on the street, but the lack of reaction from people at the scene — “as if nothing had happened.”


Clark noted that although much of the focus on gun violence in the U.S. is on mass shootings, they account for about 1 percent of all shooting deaths. The overwhelming majority of gun crimes are committed with illegally obtained firearms. Not only that: very few individuals are responsible for most of those gun crimes, he said. But the vast majority of persistent, ongoing gun violence goes unreported by residents who live in communities that are often poor and under-served by police.

“Eighty to 90 percent of the time a gun is fired, there’s no call to 911,” Clark said, “which means there’s no police response, which means that gun violence becomes normalized in these communities.”

Clark is the president and CEO of ShotSpotter:

Clark’s company’s technology is used in 100 U.S. cities, as well as in Cape Town, South Africa. It costs cities an annual subscription of between $65,000 and $85,000 per square mile per year. Smaller cities can get the service for about $200,000, but for larger ones like Chicago, which uses ShotSpotter to track gunfire across 100 square miles, the cost is about $5 million annually.


  1. Kirk says:

    Dude’s selling a product of highly questionable worth–Of course, he’s going to do whatever he can to sell his product.

    You want real-world understanding of how well the damn thing works, look here:

    Read the comments, from serving Chicago PD cops, and then wonder whether or not this technology even works… I know the early versions we had in Iraq and Afghanistan were usually not that useful to us, and the mobile ones were super-iffy as to direction of shots fired, and all the rest. I don’t think this technology is ready for prime time, at all–Let alone, worthy of multi-million dollar contracts where the money ought to be going towards hiring more cops and jailing more criminals using guns. Hell, Chicago doesn’t even prosecute on something like 90% of firearms possession and criminal use.

  2. Adar says:

    Decades ago in that area of New Orleans called Gert Town the cops fired off several hundred rounds of ammo just to see who would report what. Not one thing reported by anyone.

  3. Phil B says:

    residents who live in communities that are often poor and under-served by police

    I wonder why the Police don’t bother with those “communities”? Could it possibly be that when a murder does occur, they get zero help from that “community” and attempting to arrest a suspect or perpetrator will trigger a riot?

    Unless and until those “communities” actually want the violence to stop and help the Police to achieve this, then all the money, technology and resources poured into the “communities” might as well be burnt in a furnace to heat water. It will do more good that way.

  4. Sam J. says:

    It’s much worse than reported. The vast amount of gun violence is in 4 cities.

    These four cities and maybe a couple others are THE reason we have high gun violence number sin the US. Of course the cities where this happens they let felons go when they are caught with guns. They could stop the whole thing in a few years by arresting felons with guns and jailing them. Yes it’s mostly Blacks.

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