New York City

New technology helps NYPD determine where shots are fired

March 17, 2015 By Colleen Long Associated Press
New York City police commissioner Bill Bratton, center, speaks during a news conference at police headquarters in New York on Monday. Bratton and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio were talking about Shotspotter, a new technology that the NYPD is using to detect gunfire throughout New York City. AP Photos/Seth Wenig
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A high-tech program is helping the NYPD determine where shots are fired, even if no one calls 911, officials said Monday.

The technology, called ShotSpotter, works like a GPS triangulation system, using censors and coordinates to identify the location and direction of gunfire. So far, 300 censors have been installed covering 17 precincts, 10 in Brooklyn and 7 in the Bronx.

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The Bronx system went live after midnight Monday, and picked up one round of gunfire where no one dialed 911. Brooklyn will go live next week.

The information will be funneled into the department’s Domain Awareness System, which is an internal landing page of law enforcement information including video feeds and other technology as well as arrest records, outstanding warrants, texts of 911 calls and other information in real time.

The department’s Joint Operations Center will disseminate the location of the gunfire to officers in the field, who will also have access to cameras in the area and information on any recent violence there.

“The idea is to take all this information and queue it up for the officers,” said NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Technology Jessica Tisch.

Commissioner William Bratton said a lot of gunfire is never reported, and the technology should help officers respond faster to the scene. Areas of Brooklyn and the Bronx that have seen an uptick in gun violence are getting technology for the one-year pilot program that will cost about $1.5 million.

The ShotSpotter technology is already in use in Washington; Newark, New Jersey; and in Nassau County, New York.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Public Advocate Letitia James praised the program at a news conference Monday.

“Thanks to the NYPD, New York City continues to be the safest big city in the world, and this technology will help us stay even safer,” de Blasio said.

Tisch said the department had a failed pilot program in 2011 on tracking gunshots partly because the system could not identify what was a true gun shot and what was, say, a car starting. But the ShotSpotter technology first sends information to the company headquarters where a trained technician determines whether the sound is gunfire with 30 seconds, then passes it along to the police.

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