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Vast majority of non-fatal shootings reported in San Diego go without arrests

Data obtained by CBS 8 shows 80 percent of non-fatal shootings in the city of San Diego remain open cases and have not resulted in arrests.

SAN DIEGO — Shootings in the city of San Diego that did not result in deaths have increased since 2020, the vast majority of which go without arrests.

Data obtained by CBS 8 shows that non-fatal shootings in San Diego spiked in 2021 compared to the year prior. That data shows police responded to 236 reports of shootings that did not result in death in 2020. That number increased slightly to 250 last year.

Of the shootings that were reported, police arrested suspects only 20 percent of the time, according to the data. 

Credit: CBS 8
Spike in non-fatal shootings in the City of San Diego

The spike in shootings accompanies an overall rise in violent crime in San Diego and across the country.

In addition, staffing shortages inside San Diego's Police Department have plagued department heads and elected officials. Shortages have resulted in millions of dollars in overtime payouts as well as longer response times citywide.

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In 2020, and for most of 2021, the city used the ShotSpotter surveillance tool to try and increase arrest rates in shootings citywide. The surveillance tool utilizes audio sensors on light poles to track gunfire and report instances to the police dispatch. By doing so, according to the company, police are notified early and without having to depend on residents who may be afraid for their safety to call 911.

ShotSpotter sensors were placed across four square miles in neighborhoods such as Lincoln Park, Skyline, Valencia Park, and O’Farrell.

The city is now considering whether to renew the surveillance program after residents and advocacy groups lodged complaints about the program's effectiveness and privacy rights issues.

In regards to the spike in shootings, a spokesperson for San Diego Police says there are several reasons for the higher numbers.

"A primary issue being explored is the rising availability of firearms and particularly ghost guns," said Lieutenant Adam Sharki. "As Chief Nisleit has previously noted, gun seizures from stops are rising significantly, and prosecutions of offenders are backlogged in the courts due to COVID. This means more of these violent offenders are on the streets to re-offend before being held accountable for their actions."

 In regards to ShotSpotter's effectiveness, Lt. Sharki said that the department will discuss the effectiveness of the program when city council considers whether or not to renew ShotSpotter's contract at an upcoming council hearing.

Lieutenant Sharki said the department needs additional time to look at the low-arrest rates for non-fatal shootings across the city. 

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