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Gunshot tracking technology company opens office in DC to help police curb crime

ShotSpotter helps police better respond, investigate, and prevent crime.

WASHINGTON — A technology company aimed at helping police better respond, investigate and prevent crime is opening an office in D.C.

It comes on the heels of President Joe Biden’s newly announced gun crime prevention and response strategy.

The ShotSpotter technology is nothing new in the District. D.C. Police Department has been using it since 2006 to detect gunfire and pinpoint exactly where it came from.

More than 120 police departments are using the technology all over the country.

The company is expanding to the Nation’s Capital for added capacity and to build stronger relationships with federal agencies. The site will be a launching base for all of the U.S. including the Bahamas, South Africa and soon-to-be South America.

ShotSpotter uses a series of microphones designed to hear gunfire and find its location within about 10 feet. According to the company, the microphones are strategically placed on buildings and lamp posts in areas that are heavily populated or known to have a lot of shootings.

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Credit: ShotSpotter

Once a gun is fired, the audio sensors will pick up the sound and timestamp it.

The precise location of the gunshots is determined by the amount of time it takes for the sound to travel to each of the nearby sensors.

The information is then sent to an incident review center where analysts determine whether the sound was, in fact, gunfire before getting that information to police. The process is done in less than one minute, according to the company.

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“Gun violence is one of the top challenges facing the nation today, but progress is being made with smart technologies like gunshot detection to strategically fight this growing epidemic,” said ShotSpotter President and CEO Ralph A. Clark. “By opening a satellite office in D.C. that includes a second Incident Review Center, ShotSpotter is adding response center capacity and strengthening relationships with key industry and federal institutions that share our objective to reduce gun violence and make communities safer.”

For those who may have privacy concerns after first hearing about the technology which uses a series of microphones/audio sensors in communities, the company said it is important to note police cannot record or listen to conversations on the street.

According to ShotSpotter, the audio sensors are only triggered by loud and impulsive noises, such as gunfire or fireworks, but not by human conversations.

CLICK HERE to learn more information from the company about the technology.

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