Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson announced Tuesday the launched expansion of ShotSpotter technology, tools that record the sounds of gunshots and alert police to their location.
In a press conference posted on Facebook, Johnson said the technology has made the department “more predictive in our deployments and faster in our response times to those incidents.”
Currently, the technology is used is the 7th and 11th districts of Chicago, and soon will be expanded to the 9th and 15th districts as well, all of which are some of the most crime-ridden areas of the city.
Johnson noted that the 7th district went “eight straight days without a shooting incident” at the beginning of February, which is “the longest period of time in almost three years where not one shot was fired in one of our most violent areas.”
While Johnson admitted that stretch of eight days was by no means a victory, he remained optimistic that the department was making progress and moving in the right direction.
As well as an expansion in ShotSpotter technology, the city will also see “station based strategic decision support centers” that Johnson said will “serve as dedicated intelligence hubs for four out of the five districts that contribute to a significant portion of the city’s violence and were responsible for the majority of the increase that we saw in murders in 2016.”
The intelligence hubs will act as monitoring centers manned by district leadership, police officers, and crime analysts from CPD and the University of Chicago. The personnel at the hubs will use data, sent from tools such as ShotSpotter or police cams, to better assess and adapt to crime incidents.
ShotSpotter notifications will also be sent to police officers’ mobile phones, which Johnson said will allow the officers to respond more quickly and accurately to shooting incidents.