Shhh–Do You Hear Gunfire?
Gunshot-detection devices have proven themselves in hotspot areas around the country. The technology allows officers to respond to gunshots within minutes, often within fairly close distance of where the shots were fired. Chicago police are installing telephone pole-mounted devices this year in 80 locations, and have a video camera mounted on the devices that allow dispatchers to monitor the scene while waiting for officers to arrive.
The systems come from Safety Dynamics, which developed the gunshot analysis technology using Department of Defense funding. California-based ShotSpotter uses modified earthquake-detection software to determine if loud noises are gunshots. In both systems, noises found to be gunshots are processed and triangulated using data from different devices to pinpoint the shooter.
The Safety Dynamics systems were studied by the National Institute of Justice and found to accurately identify 80 percent of gunshots with 72 percent of those triangulated to within 25 feet.
A big benefit of the technology is deterrence, such as in Redwood City, Calif., where gunshots on New York’s Eve fell from about 400 gunshots in 1998 to fewer than 10 in 2002 due to an awareness campaign that touted the technology. Residents were surprised when police would quickly show up at the scene of gunfire, says Redwood City Police Activities League executive director Chris Rasmussen.
In Chicago, the systems feature police star emblems and have flashing blue lights when activated. “You can use it like a force multiplier in high-crime neighborhoods where drug dealing is a problem,” says Safety Dynamics chief scientist Ted Berger.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the Wired News (11/23/04); Asaravala, Amit .