Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Sunday, September 19, 2010

4th Ward taxpayers to Mayor on ShotSpotter: Not so fast!

Map from flyer is not official City proposal.
Homeowners in Plainfield's 4th Ward have called a community meeting for this afternoon to discuss concerns over Mayor Robinson-Briggs' proposal to install the ShotSpotter® gunshot-detection system in the city.

A flyer distributed in the West End Heights neighborhood protests that the installation would stigmatize the neighborhood as 'unsafe, gang-infested and crime-ridden', and also that property values will be depressed as a result.

In an email circulated to all City Council members, resident Nan Anderson-Bennett outlines the concerns of the neighborhood and urges the Council to look more closely at the matter before making a final decision --

Recent reports indicate that the Shotspotter gunshot detector technology installation will cover the neighborhood bordered by Compton Avenue, West Front Street, Myrtle Avenue and Rock Avenue – the ‘West End Heights’. I am a resident of the 4th Ward, District 2, who is alarmed at the inclusion of this district in the proposed “Gunshot Zone”.

My concerns are:

    * The neighborhood will be stigmatized as unsafe, gang infested, and crime ridden.
    * The property values will be further depressed.

‘West End Heights’ is a stable, well-maintained, family-oriented community. The homeowners, taxpayers in this district have worked very hard to deflect the broad brush of lawlessness and poverty generally used to paint the entire Fourth Ward.

I am not against the installation of the Shotspotter technology in the so-called “hot spots” of the Fourth Ward. If the residents and the Police believe it will prevent shootings or improve the numbers in the capture and prosecution of offenders – so be it; I’ll bite the bullet (intended) with the other taxpayers for the expense.

What I can’t swallow is my neighborhood, my property being red-lined, being forever categorized as dangerous. We will never be free of the brand, and a consequence will be further falling property values. If designated as part of the Gunshot Zone, ‘West End Heights’ won’t recover; in fact, it will fast-forward the neighborhood to more foreclosures, absentee owners, lower rents, increased density, and less maintenance. That’s a recipe for decline.

I urge you to think bigger, deeper, and farther about the impacts of the Shotspotter technology on the entire community. It’s time to develop a comprehensive strategy to combat the lure of the gangs, the drugs, and the out-of-towners who troll the streets.

What FACTS support the need for Shotspotter technology in the ‘West End Heights’?

I urge you to get the answer.
Since the City has not brought forward a map for the public of the 3-square-mile 2-square-mile area (I've been corrected by Bernice) proposed to be covered by the technology, everyone is operating somewhat in the dark.

The map used in the community flyer is the one I posted a few days ago, with my proposal sketch (I'm not proposing anything, one way or the other) for a 1-square-mile demonstration area, along the lines of an idea the Council had broached in its recent discussions.

Plainfield residents will recall that Anderson-Bennett is the daughter of long-time Plainfield Democratic councilwoman Helen Miller.
Anderson-Bennett ran for City Council a number of years ago on the Republican line.


Today, 4:00 PM

Jefferson School
1200 Myrtle Avenue

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Anonymous said...

Good for Nan. We need real answers and we do not need to spend a million dollars on this.

I have heard that the PBA is against this technology.

There are better things to do with money you don't have: Don't spend money you don't have.

Anonymous said...

West End Hgts is unsafe, gang infested, and crime ridden. You should crawl out from under your rock and look around. Especially look at the area of Clinton ave/ Myrtle and Clinton/Front st. These are gang areas which mean they are also drug areas. Violent crime occurs there all the time, to include shootings although not publicized like the other areas. These gang members are your neighbors and children of your neighbors.
Please educate yourself before speaking out!


Anonymous said...

Dan let me be clear I have never voted for our current mayor. I do not support nearly anything she does. But to suggest that the Mayor is on her own when it comes to supporting this 1M dollar system is simply not true. The City Council voted 7-0 and gave it's approval on first reading.

That would include all of your "New Dems" as well. The council is the governing body. They control the purse-strings of the city. So if in fact taxpayers from the 4th ward and beyond are saying " Not so fast" they are or should be saying that to the only real political entity that has the power to fund ShotSpotter. The CITY COUNCIL!

What makes their actions so irresponsible to the taxpayer is that the council approved consideration without having a shred of empirical data to support their decision.

I think this rally make an important point. It's obvious both the mayor and the council didn't do a good job getting input from the very people who live in or near the affected areas.

The people of the 4th ward are their greatest asset. Not a 1M system. Spending 1 million dollars on ShotSpotter is not a long-term solution to the problems of crime in our city ... Creating jobs for families and more opportunties for our young peole is the answer.

Ask yourself these questions, whose getting paid from ShotSpotter? Answer noone from Plainfield... I hope. Who getting left out? Families and children. Who's getting bill? Homeowners. Renters and landlords. That's who. Power to the people.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I am missing something, but as I see it,if the combined efforts of the Mayor and the Public Safety Director(whatever that is), has managed to bring violent crimes down 30% in the last decade . . . why not just keep doing what they are doing? In ten more years it would be more than cut in half, and by 2030, by 90%! That and you wouldn.t have to spend millions of dollars on what appears to be a half baked idea!


Good old fashioned police work. Police presence and one to one interaction in high crime areas . . . Oh,Goodness, that sounds like foot patrols and getting on a personal basis with the people who live there!
Whenever you get to far away from the basics, you seem to lose sight of what is really important!

Anonymous said...

ANON 9:00

It's so obvious you don't come West of Woodland Ave. If you did you would be in agreement with Miss Bennett. This is not to say there aren't higher levels of crime in the 4th ward, just to her point there are many stable well-kept middle class neighborhoods in that area that should be taken into consideration.

Telling her to crawl from underneath her rock makes you sound insensitive and ignorant. You sound like the one who needs to get out more.

Anonymous said...

The mayor gets blamed for a lot but in this case it's the Council which has had a "New Democrat" majority for years. And they all voted for this, too.

Anonymous said...

To 11:05am - I couldn't agree with you more that the decision was made without the input of the very people it is to affect.

I hope the rally today helps all those who need it, and does not blanket the 4th ward if Nan's assessment is true.

Anonymous said...

The November Election is getting closer! The few who voted the last NOVEMBER election made major mistakes! Please we need to stop the GREEN SPENDING SPREE MACHINE! Call your local council person and tell them to VOTE NO to spending a MILLION $$ of our tax money STOP wasting our tax dollars $$$$

Anonymous said...

The citizens of Plainfield need a detection system on coruption, and run away spending in City Hall more than the need a shots fired system on the west end.

Anonymous said...

The gang members and other outlaws will know where the detection machine is and start shooting on the east end to avoid the detection system. Plainfielders call your council members and say HELL NO we dont want you to spend our tax money on this system. As another poster said,November is election time. Vote the free spenders out!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 12:29.
I am in that area more nights than I am home with my family. I am fully aware of what goes on in every section of the city. To worry about property values instead of lives is just shameful! Shotspotter may not be a cure all but it will go a long way in catching these scumbags shooting people. With the amount of gun violence it is obvious they don't care about anything.

Some areas of the city have experienced shootouts and no one ever called the police. These have been heavily populated areas and for a myriad of reasons they have become tolerant of it, until a child gets hit or something dreadful like that. So to say we can hear them and that is enough is plain ignorant.

To address walking patrols and old fashioned police work. The city doesn't have enough cops to put out walking patrols. Most nights there is a minimum amount of cops on the street. They are overburdened and going from call to call with little time to proactively make a difference in the city.

Lastly, people don't choose to shoot where there won't be a detection system. They shoot where the targets are!

Anonymous said...


Hello there this is ANON 9:00,

I carefully read your response to my post. I respectfully disagree with some of your assumptions. First, ShotSpotter will go along way to catching criminals that discharge firearms. Really? How did you determine that or is that something you just believe? No data exists that shows reportedly higher levels of suspect apprehension. I repeat none.
Second, Plainfield doesn't have enough Police for foot patrols. I agree with your point so let's hire more police. With 1 million dollars and the 150K annual operating cost of this system it appears we can afford to hire more.
Finally, To your last point people shoot people based upon where the targets are. Ok, there are targets all over the city which is why we need a solution that offers flexibility.. You do realize and I'm not trying to belittle your position, ShotSpotter doesn't arrest suspects Police do. It doesn't jump over fences or provide back up to a responding officer. There is no substitute for a adequately staffed police department. Because if this system ever came online it makes sense we would need more patrol officers to meet the higher workloads. Just my humble opinion ANON 9:39am.