NYC to Test Weapons-Detection System in the Subway | Tech

New York City is exploring the use of technology that will scan passengers for weapons on its subway system.

At a Thursday press conference, NYC Mayor Eric Adams demonstrated a system from Evolv that scans people as they walk by, much like a metal detector. If a weapon is detected, it will alert on a nearby iPad being monitored by police, who can then search the person in the area where the system detected a gun.

Evolv is just one solution under consideration, Adams says. The city is kicking off a 90-day waiting period during which it will work “to identify companies with proven expertise in weapons detection technology.” It will then choose a technology to pilot at “some subway stations where the NYPD will be able to further evaluate the equipment’s effectiveness.”

Evolv technology was tested two years ago at City Hall, but results were mixed. Mayor Adams argued this week that there’s a learning curve with every new technology. And he suggested that competing firms will see that NYC is interested in this technology and submit their solutions for consideration. As for potential false positives, Adams suggested that even a 70% hit ratio is 70% better than what NYPD has now.

The mayor’s office says NYPD officers seized 450 weapons this year as of March 24, including 19 illegal guns—up from 261 weapons and nine guns during the same time period last year. In recent months, there have been several shootings on the subway, contributing to a recent rise in crime on the system that had dropped off following a pandemic-era jump.

As for whether people can refuse to be searched, Michael Gerber, the city’s Deputy Commissioner of Legal Matters, said during Thursday’s press conference that people can opt to leave a subway station and not go through the scanners if they spot them upon entry. Leaving is “not probable cause” for the police to chase after that person, Gerber said. If you decide to enter the subway system,…

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