Gunshot location system boosts city surveillance

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ShotSpotter dispatch desk

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October 12, 2007 When battling gun related crime, police are often faced with the problem of being unable to pinpoint the direction or proximity of overheard gunfire. In order to combat this issue over a wide area, the ShotSpotter Gunshot Location System uses acoustical triangulation to accurately detect incidences of gunfire and integrates camera networks to provide law enforcement with instant situation reports. After its celebrated role in capturing the Columbus sniper of 2003/2004, 20 major US cities, most recently Baton Rouge, Louisiana, have adopted the ShotSpotter GLS as a tool to combat gun related crime and as a deterrent against future crimes.

Initially, ShotSpotter will monitor eight square miles in Baton Rouge, though the system has the ability to monitor tens of square miles, or hundreds of linear miles. The system requires each square mile to contain eight to twelve sensors, which can detect gunfire at a range of up to two miles. The acoustical sensors are finely tuned to the resonance of gunfire, with patented spatial filter technology preventing similar noises, like firecrackers and cars backfiring, from interfering with the system. Forensic evidence gathered by the ShotSpotter has been successfully used for arrest and prosecution, and adoption of the system has been shown to reduce the amount of gun related crimes.

ShotSpotter sensors can function in both a wired or wireless infrastructure; the city of Baton Rouge is employing NetMethods to implement a wireless setup by the end of next year. NetMethods and ShotSpotter will be on display at the 114th Annual IACP Conference and Exposition, which attracts over 17,000 law enforcement professionals.

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