Year- to-date murders are down for 2017 and there was a break in the barrage of gunfire in San Antonio during the month of February, at least in the two target zones where police are tracking numbers.
District 2 City Councilman Alan Warrick said that ShotSpotter, the technology that counts the pops of gunshots, recorded a record low number.
“We're averaging about 260 gunshots a month, and this month we are down to 167 gunshots. So this is by far the lowest number of shots,” said Councilman Warrick, who’s been tracking the numbers for almost a year. “We know that 40 percent of these gunshots aren't called in by citizens. So, four out of 10 times, if you shot a gun in the east or west side, nobody would show up.”
Councilman Warrick added that not only are police showing up every time now, they're arriving in record time, on average about two minutes on the east side.
“You're talking about getting to some of these sites in under one minute,” said Councilman Warrick, who also added that year-to-date in 2016, the east side had recorded eight murders, but there have only been five this year. “Less gunshots equals less murders.”
Councilman Warrick said that gun-toting criminals are less likely to fire shots when they know the police will arrive quickly.
“People say it's drugs and all of these issues, but drugs are all over the entire city,” he explained. “It doesn't mean that we have to shoot each other and have violence in the communities that we live in.”
A San Antonio Police Department spokesman said that while the decrease is good news, one month is not a trend, and they will continue to evaluate the program.
Meanwhile, the people who hear gunfire every few days still say that more is needed.
One woman, who lives near the Hays Street spot where Destiny Garcia was shot to death last November, said that she hates seeing the memorial to the dead woman every time she steps outside of her home.
“It’s sad. It's still too close to home and too many shots and all that needs to still stop,” the woman said.
The mother of a small child said that she never ventures outside after dark and, while the downward trend offers a little comfort, added that she knows she must always be careful.
“I don't think nobody should be celebrating on no 167 shots,” the woman said. “It's about to get hotter, and for some reason the hotter it gets, it's like the more violence.”
Meanwhile, Councilman Warrick said that he believes the downward trend will continue.
“We don't have to be a product of our environment,” he said. “The environment can change and it's changing all around us.”