Travon Asks If Microphones Really Stop Bullets

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Can you hear the difference between a firework and a gunshot? ShotSpotter says it can. It’s a private sector company that uses microphones to detect gunfire and alert police to the scene. The company says it’s a powerful tool to stop gun violence, but critics say it’s an excuse to overpolice some of our most vulnerable communities. How did this technology with questionable accuracy lead to million-dollar contracts with police departments across the country? Travon walks us through the case of Silvon Simmons, a man falsely accused of shooting a cop, all because of an eight-second audio file from ShotSpotter. Plus, conversations with a former 911 operator and a city councilmember in Durham, NC, about the fight against ShotSpotter.

The Untold Story is a Lemonada Media original and is presented by Campaign Zero. This episode is produced by Hannah Boomershine with production help from Nicole Galteland and Priscilla Alabi. Supervising producer is Kristen Lepore. Production intern is Jala Everett. Fact checking by Steve Crighton. Music, sound design and mixing by Hannis Brown. Engineering from Andrea Kristinsdottir. Executive producers are Jessica Cordova Kramer, Stephanie Wittels Wachs, DeRay Mckesson and Jay Ellis. You can find host Travon Free on Instagram and Twitter: @Travon.



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