ShotSpotter gunfire detection service expands in 7 new cities

Shot Spotter helps pinpoint the location of gunshots through a series of acoustic sensors on buildings and lampposts, relaying information to officers in near real time. (Graphic: Shot Spotter)

Shot Spotter helps pinpoint the location of gunshots through a series of acoustic sensors on buildings and lampposts, relaying information to officers in near real time. (Graphic: Shot Spotter)

The publicly-traded California-based gunshot location service announced this week they have expanded their reach to over 90 jurisdictions with the addition of several new contracts.

Among the new cities recently adopting the network of toaster-sized gunfire detectors are Cincinnati; Jacksonville; Louisville; Newburgh, New York; Pittsfield, Massachusettes; Syracuse; and St. Louis County.

“We are excited to be working with police departments in successfully implementing gunshot detection solutions as a critical component of their gun violence prevention efforts,” said Ralph Clark, the company’s CEO, in a statement. “Cities are seeing positive outcomes and improved community engagement as a result of their agency’s ShotSpotter adoption and integration with best practices execution.”

In Cincinnati, police officials said Thursday their newly installed system has alerted police to more than 60 incidents of gunfire in the past month alone, most of which had gone unnoticed or unreported.

While at least one city in recent years terminated their pricey contract with the company, citing ShotSpotter didn’t help them make arrests or identify crime victims, others have found it more successful.

In April, police in Fresno, California said the technology helped track a gunman on the move in that city, enabling his capture just under five minutes after his first shot was detected. The information, which is delayed less than 30 seconds from the time the shots are fired until an alert registers with the monitoring agency, was forwarded to officers in the field in near real time.

In addition to the cities announced by ShotSpotter, the Sacramento City Council voted Tuesday night for a $138,000 expansion of their existing system.

While the increasing use of gunfire detection systems has been cited by gun control advocates as part of their opposition to the partial deregulation of firearm suppressors, Clark told The Washington Post earlier this year his system has already detected suppressed gunfire and has plans to tweak their systems if needed.

“We believe we will have various options ranging from increasing our sensor array density to developing software/firmware to address the detection of suppressed gunfire if it were to become a widespread issue,” Clark said.

The system is already reportedly effective in distinguishing between fireworks and gunshots. In the company’s initial public offering in June, ShotSpotter sold $35.4 million worth of shares on the NASDAQ Capital Market.