Fresno shooter photograpgh
Fresno shooter photo. Image: Washington Post.

The Fresno Police Department Chief, Jerry Dyer, credited the gunshot detection system ShotSpotter with locating the responsible for the Fresno shootings on Tuesday. Three people died during the events, and the suspect was caught in the scene.

ShotSpotter uses advanced acoustic technology to pinpoint the location of gunfire incidents in real time. Law enforcement agencies around the U.S. and the world use the system to fight crime and enhance their response times.

Chief Jerry Dyer said that many more people could have been hurt or killed on Tuesday if it were not for the live gunshot alerts. The shooter has since been identified as Kori Ali Muhammad, a 39-year-old man responsible for another killing last week at a local motel.

Fresno Police Department Chief, Jerry Dyer, photograph
Fresno Police Department Chief praised ShotSpotter after the Fresno incident. Image: ABC30news.

How does ShotSpotter work?

According to the website, the app relies on acoustic sensors that are strategically located, 15-20 per square mile, to detect and triangulate gunshot activity.

They record each shot or round of shots and register the time and estimated location. They feed this data to law enforcement agencies’ control rooms and officers’ computers in their cars.

Because the detection system may track sounds that are not gunfire, like fireworks or loud noises, the recordings are filtered by a special algorithm and a team of professionals at the company’s Incident Review Center.

The information dispatched to police departments and other security bodies includes exact coordinates, the number of recorded detonations, and the kind of weapon that may have been used.

ShotSpotter says its technology should be in no way considered a replacement for law enforcement. Instead, it is a tool that enables deputies to act fast and in a safe way, increasing effectivity in takedown operations and potentially saving lives.

ShotSpotter may be costly, but worth it

SST Inc., the service providers of ShotSpotter, offer different versions of the system to better fit different users’ needs. Their main product is ShotSpotter Flex, the law enforcement specialized tool.

Cities and towns may add features on top of the already far-reaching services. Reports say average installation costs range between $65,000 and $90,000 per square mile per year. Fresno’s grid covers a strategic area of 3 square miles, which was enough to catch the shooter.

The particularities of each city, however, can ramp up the costs up to $250,000 per square mile. Such was the case in New York City, but since ShotSpotter was installed in 2015, 74% of the alerts it generated in the following six months had not been called in by 911.

The neighboring Police Department at Bakersfield, California, has once again reached out to federal authorities in the search for a grant to implement ShotSpotter in the town. Officers expect the approval of at least a two-year pilot program of the system.

Source: Fox News