ShotSpotter — Sniper Detection Technology Rolling Out Across America

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No one, even the neighbors of the shooter would know where the heck the bullet emanated from but the police. Sounds like a scene from suspense cum action packed movie but that is true for some of the cities in U.S now.

The technology called Shotspotter now enables the law enforcement agencies of the United States to spot the shooter’s point as soon as he shoots. So far, more than sixty cities including Long Island, New York, San Francisco and others, have been using this technology and making their areas safer. Others are considering joining the club after witnessing its success and benefits.

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In fact some of the towns have been boasting the thing and going too public to warn the defaulters, as following sign was displayed in an elementary school there

If you fire a Gun, We will find you.

The technology enables police or other such concerned men to know about the speed and direction of the source from where the bullets emanates by the virtue of audio analysis software. Along with that the sensing and spotting is done through wide area acoustic surveillance and GPS technology, whereas the sensors are placed on the buildings and poles which provide coverage to a fixed area.

It is smart enough to distinguish between the type and range of calibers and fire arms. It can also hear the explosion and tell whether the shot was fired from a vehicle or was a firework or a bomb for that matter.

After sensing and distinguishing, ShotSpotter relays this information to certain computers and other concerned info departments associated with the areas, thus enabling the police or other responders to act swiftly. The system is reported to have an average accuracy of ten to fifteen feet, In fact at some places, police have reported it to be efficient enough to detect within the error range of five feet.

Its effectiveness is evident form the fact that such incidents have reduced upto ninety percent in some of the areas.

To prepare for world cup 2014 and Olympics 2016, Brazil is also working on installing such systems. They recently conducted a live fire calibration test and used seventy disguised sensors for that purpose.

You might be thinking why aint no this technology is that popular with all the police departments in the U.S and other agencies so far. Well the answer his hidden in the price factor which goes with it. The system’s installment cost is as high as $60,000 per square mile.

There might be places where gunshots are not that frequent but even then, once the cost issue cools down a bit; the time isn’t far when this technology would be saving lives.

The system is the brain child of a fifteen year old technology firm SST inc.  They also offer gunshot screener packages which help avoiding false positives and thus increasing accuracy.  By transmitting the sounds over to a call center, it can be verified if the sound came from a firearm or a firecracker.

Shotspotter does not necessarily need to have clear line of sight and can work with hindrances in its way within a range of approximately one mile.

In its future work, a surveillance video would be incorporated to keep an evidence of where was the gunshot fired. Some of the Police departments are also working on making the system so efficient and independent of the human resource that it may be able to react to the gunfire by spinning towards the source with the help of Avrio RMS cameras.

[via FoxNews]

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