MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — The city of Mobile is beginning a new operation to combat gun violence in the city.
2021 was an extremely violent year, Mobile police worked 51 criminal homicides last year, and we saw an increase in people shooting into cars and homes.
The city just launched Operation Echo Stop, which is an effort to reduce gun violence focusing on prevention, deterrence, compliance, and detection. Tuesday afternoon, the Mobile City Council approved a key portion of the operation, Shotspotter.
“It’ll mimic what you see in the downtown area as it relates to some of our camera technology in that area,” said Public Safety Director Lawrence Battiste.
Shotspotter is used in other cities across the country. According to the company, the program works by using cameras and sensors to detect if a gun is fired in their coverage area. The company says the sensors will locate where the shots were fired, and immediately alert police.
“If we can get the person who shot into a home and no one got hit, it serves as a greater deterrance, if we apprehend that individual sooner and we prevent some of that violent behavior that exists,” said Battiste.
The city says Shotspotter will be just one of the tools they use.
“My hope and my prayer by having the technology, we’re going to see a major impact. I think you’re going to see an impact on how we address violent crime in our community even before we get to the depolyment of the technology,” said Battiste.
The program will be paid for by federal funds from the American Rescue Plan.
It’s part of a bigger program, Operation Echo Stop. The city and police will use a combination of tools, people, technology to reduce crime in Mobile. The main focus is to prevent crime from happening and the city says they plan on using data to help with prevention.
“We’re really looking at it on a daily basis, to see where are the commonalities, where are the common spots, who are the common individuals that are associated with the criminal behavior. Who are the common victims of violent crime in our community so we can utilize that data so we can take a more strategic approach to preventing that behavior,” said Battiste.
Battiste says he believes the whole operation should be up and running by June, but portions of the operation will be working before that date.