Are those lamps on your local streets detecting when guns are fired? American cities are being upgraded to pinpoint shooters and help police fight gun violence.
Like something out of the futuristic policing TV show “APB,” new tech can locate the exact position where a gun is fired and report it immediately to law enforcement.
Called ShotSpotter, this is a tool that can be used by officials to respond even faster to the aid of gun violence victims— minutes can be the difference between life and death. And it provides police with far more information in advance.
Before arriving on the scene, the tech tells police the exact location of the shooter or shooters, the type of weapon, and number of shots fired. This sort of data can help law enforcement respond more effectively and reduce the risk to the officers responding.
Militaries use a similar technology to defeat enemy snipers. In war zones, these systems pinpoint the location of a hidden sniper, using the sound of the gunshot.
The ShotSpotter tech uses a similar acoustic approach, but in a system designed to protect civilian neighborhoods. It can also be used to protect locations that can be attractive for terrorists to strike, like power plants and tourist sites such as New York’s Times Square.
What is ShotSpotter?
ShotSpotter is a system of sensors that work together to calculate the location of gun crime.
Within the area of coverage, the tech can tell police officers where the shot was fired, how many shots, and the number of weapons involved.
ShotSpotter can even identify the weapon. From the sound of a military sniper’s weapon through to handguns, shotguns and rifles, this tech can distinguish and identify all different types of weapon sound signatures.
How does it work?
There are three parts to this tech: detect, locate, and alert. When a gunshot goes off, the ShotSpotter instantly alerts police of the gun crime in progress.
Acoustic sensors are installed at about 30 feet or more above street level in places such as rooftops and utility poles.
For every square mile, there would be about 15 – 20 sensors. This sensor system works together to detect and triangulate weapon activity.