The Detroit Free Press alerted us to this gadget/system in their article: ‘Detroit Police seek gunshot-tracking sensors for city’. At first glance, one thinks that Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee Jr. is making a sensible decision. We reviewed the evidence – and the devices – as much as we possibly good. Detroit has long been thought a “homicide hotspot” – we don’t like writing that about that fair city. But we have our reasons – one of them the loss of a cousin to gun violence long ago. The author has – at times – found himself on the wrong end of a firearm in that same city.
So we support this kind of gadget/s – with some reservations. The Freep article did point out that the Detroit homicide rate statistic is exploding. Other big cities are supporting or considering these types of tech. ‘Shots fired’ may even refer to random shooting/s. At least one legislator says it will save lives – Kevan Abrahams (D – Hempstead, Nassau County, Long Island). And Saginaw MI reportedly has the system too. The system being considered in Detroit is the ShotSpotter Flex from SST in Mountain View CA. It really does appear to be the high tech system of choice.
As SST reports on the ShotSpotter Flex system, a series of sensors are activated when a gun is fired. The gunfire is recorded and pinpointed by acoustic and gun experts. The data is verified and police are notified by the 911 system. The system can be operated 247/365 and is cloud hosted. The system is said to be interoperable with other parties and CAD. The National Institute of Justice has prepared a couple of interesting reports on the ShotSpotter and similar gadgets. The tech is accurate only in ‘80%’ of testing done by them. However, they do point out that it can be a crime-solving tool. It does not increase response times. Use this link here for a PDF of their other brief.
The accompanying video link is to a rifle-mounted technology available from Ultra Electronics. Obviously, this tech has important military applications. Apparently the United States Geological Survey tested this technology early on. They found that this technology “worked remarkably well” – for the location of gunshots! Common sense tells all that shooters don’t hang around after the fact. For this reason, any police department needs a rapid response policy or division.