New York City is taking a proactive stand against gun violence at an expense of a $1.5 million for a test system that detects the sound of gunshots and locates it within 2 feet. The city hopes that this system will alert police to crimes that would otherwise go unreported. Known as ShotSpotter, more than 300 of these little sensors are spread across 15 square miles of New York City and use triangulation, a process that measures angles to determine a precise point, to locate real-time gunshots. About eight years ago, Washington, DC deployed a similar system of 300 acoustic sensors across 20 square miles of their city. Each sensor is made up of microphones, software and a GPS-linked clock, all used to determine unique sounds related to guns while ignoring other typical city sounds. Since then, about 39,000 gunshots have been detected in the DC area.
The New York Police Department identified five regions of 3 square miles where each sensor should be deployed so that the data can be analyzed at the NYPD’s domain awareness center by combining it with CCTV camera and 911 call data.
Of course, no gunshot detection system is 100% accurate or perfect, but it is a tool to help officials in the battle against crime in their respective cities.