Student stabbed after Evolv weapons detection failure

Occurred: October 2022

An 18 year-old student was stabbed multiple times by a fellow student armed with a nine-inch hunting knife, despite the school having installed and screened both students with an AI-powered Evolv Express weapons detection system

The October 2022 incident took place at Proctor High School in Utica, New York, six months after Utica Schools Board had purchased Evolv Technology's weapons scanning system for 13 schools in its district at a cost of USD 3.7 million. Ehni Ler Htoo suffered multiple stab wounds to his head, neck, face, shoulder, back and hand. 

Since the attack, three knives were reported to have been discovered on students in other schools within the district, according to the BBC. In all cases, Evolv Express had failed to detect the knives, casting further doubt on the accuracy of the system and on the company's marketing claims.

It also transpired that Evolv Technology had changed its website marketing slogan several times over recent months, from 'Weapons-Free Zones' to 'Our Mission: Safe Zones' to 'Our Mission: Safer Zones'. The company had previously been accused of opaque and misleading marketing on multiple occasions.

Operator: Utica Schools Board; Proctor High School
Developer: Evolv Technology

Country: USA

Sector: Govt - education

Purpose: Detect weapons

Technology: Computer vision; Object recognition
Issue: Accuracy/reliability

Transparency: Governance; Black box; Marketing

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: June 2023