City installing high-tech ShotSpotter system in Avondale

Tool designed to pinpoint, reduce shootings

CINCINNATI -- The city is installing a ShotSpotter system in Avondale in hopes the high-tech tool can reduce gun violence and give police officers more information as they respond to a scene.

ShotSpotter uses a network of microphones to identify the sound of gunshots and determine where the shots came from within seconds, officials said Monday  The system is being installed across three square miles and should go live by the end of August.

The system will also help police track shootings that go unreported and identity false reports of shootings. It will make it easier to recover evidence such as shell casings or guns, interview witnesses, and ensure timely medical attention for gunshot victims, according to a release.

“The Cincinnati Police Department is committed to the reduction of gun violence in our neighborhoods,” said Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac. “ShotSpotter is one of the many innovative tools we have at our disposal to combat gun violence and improve community safety by providing our officers real-time alerts.”

How does ShotSpotter work?

When a gunshot is detected, ShotSpotter sensors triangulate and pinpoint the number of shots fired within 25 meters. ShotSpotter sends a real-time alert to the dispatch center as well as on-patrol officers.  

Sixty sensors will be installed in Avondale alone. The coverage will eventually be expanded to Mount Auburn, Walnut Hills, Evanston and Corryville. Those five neighborhoods accounted for 20 percent of gunfire in the city between January 2014 and March 2016.

That will provide more peace of minds for residents, said Pastor Peterson Mingo of Evanston.

"They hear so much gunshots they hear it all through the night. And it's gotten to the point that they ignore it. They go back to sleep and somebody out there may be dying," Mingo said. "But with this program help will be there."

Police departments using ShotSpotter have found that upward of 75 percent of shooting activity is never called into 911. The technology will help CPD identify shooting incidents and locations that go unreported, officials said.

CPD conducted a live, controlled gunshot training exercise in Avondale last week. The testing was conducted to ensure sensor calibration, quality of gunshot detection, validation, and system analysis, according to a release.

ShotSpotter costs $235,000 to cover a three-square mile radius for a year.

"ShotSpotter gives our police another tool to reduce gun violence and it supports our overall policing strategy," said Mayor John Cranley. "A smart policing strategy builds on the Cincinnati policing embedded in our Collaborative Agreement, which stresses community relationships and a targeted approach to repeat violent offenders."

“By implementing the new ShotSpotter system, our Police Department and first responders will be able to visualize data and illustrate where gun violence is most concentrated," added City Manager Harry Black. "This innovative technology enables the City to utilize already existing resources to prevent gun violence and help Cincinnati be at the forefront of violence prevention.”

Cincinnati is one of more than 90 cities across the world to install and utilize the ShotSpotter technology. Get more information on ShotSpotter at www.ShotSpotter.com.

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