39,000 data points showing the failure of gun control in D.C.

At its most fundemental level, software technology is based upon a series of zeros and ones, switches that dispassionately read as either on or off, without opinion. Things either are, or or not.


Washington, D.C.’s implementation of Shotspotter sensors and software are no different, and show without editorial bias that the city’s strict gun control laws are an utter failure.

About 39,000 separate incidents of gunfire have been documented by ShotSpotter’s unseen web of at least 300 acoustic sensors across 20 square miles of the city, according to an analysis by The Washington Post. The data, obtained through a public-records request, offer an unprecedented view of gun crime in a city where shooting a firearm is illegal in virtually all circumstances.

The gunfire logged by ShotSpotter overshadows the number of officially reported felony gun crimes by more than 2 to 1. More than one-half of the incidents detected by the network have involved multiple rounds of gunfire. In 2009 alone, ShotSpotter captured more than 9,000 incidents of gunfire. That number has fallen by 40 percent in recent years as gun homicides have declined sharply.

Curiously, the Washington Post seemed to have very little interest in having Metro PD explain why there is more than a 2-1 discrepancy in the number of shots fired and the number of gun crimes recorded by the police.

Perhaps Cathy Lanier’s police force is too busy breaking gun laws to enforce them?


Join the conversation as a VIP Member