ShotSpotter CEO Ralph Clark talks about the future of city surveillance

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The tech that will feed the world

A guy like Ralph Clark has a tough job: if all goes according to his business plan he’ll put himself out of business. He is the CEO of ShotSpotter, a surveillance system for cities that triangulates gunfire in 90 cities. I asked him if he’d ever have to shut down.

“You know, sadly, in the US that won’t be the case,” he said.

The company is coming under fire for being seemingly ineffective in many cities. The problem? Cops visit the places where the system heard shots but they find nothing. That’s exactly how it should be, said Clark. The goal isn’t to stop gunfire but to make it clear to the residents of that area that the police are listening and that they are ready to investigate when something dangerous happens. While New York celebrates the tool while other cities are still waiting for results. Ultimately, however, Clark believes that only a small number of individuals are responsible for most of a city’s gunfire and any tools available to get those folks off the street are important.

Clark has some fascinating ideas about preventing poaching using his technology and here’s hoping that some day his devices won’t hear a single shot anywhere.

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