The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department implemented a pilot program last November to assist in detecting and locating gunfire. The technology, called ShotSpotter, was installed in three undisclosed locations throughout the Las Vegas valley. The areas were selected based on the high number of reported criminal incidents.
ShotSpotter is an acoustic technology that consists of audio sensors that detect, locate and alert police agencies of gunfire incidents in real time. In no more than 45 seconds from the actual gun discharge, the alert and the precise location of the event is delivered to police. The sensors capture the noise that may represent a gunshot, the data is filtered by machine algorithms, and confirmed by human acoustic experts at the ShotSpotter headquarters. The filtered, triangulated information is then sent immediately to the police department.
During the trial period, there were 487 potential gunshot events that were identified by ShotSpotter. 65% of all potential gunshot events would have likely gone unreported to the police. There were 1,497 gunshots reported by the technology. 86% of gunshot events were reported faster by ShotSpotter than the 911 call of the same incident.
The program was funded and implemented with the assistance of Clark County Commissioners Marilyn Kirkpatrick and Chris Giunchigliani, the University of Nevada, Reno Cooperative Extension, and the Friends of Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Foundation.
"ShotSpotter has made a huge difference in our community," said County Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick, who was the driving force behind bringing the technology to the valley. "Since its implementation here, ShotSpotter has helped local law enforcement officers find victims and suspects in several cases in which no one reported the crime to the police."
"ShotSpotter gives local law enforcement another tool to help them combat gun violence," County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani said. "This technology enables the police to quickly respond to a shooting even if no one reports it, giving our law enforcement officers a better chance of finding those responsible for the crime."
This innovative technology allowed officers to arrive at the scene of a crime faster and with an increased level of situational awareness, as they will know exactly where the gunfire is taking place. ShotSpotter is a tool that is used to enhance existing law enforcement manpower and improve response time and quality of response.