Baltimore Police introduce new technology to fight crime

Jun 1, 2018

The Baltimore Police Department says testing is complete and the new "ShotSpotter" technology is now up and running. The ShotSpotter technology is being implemented across approximately five square miles to help fight illegal urban gun crime.

At a news conference Friday, Police Media Relations Chief T.J. Smith said ShotSpotter is the leading public safety solution for gunfire detection, location and alerts on illegal gun crime. ShotSpotter real-time alerts notify local police departments of precisely when and where gun incidents occur so that officers can respond faster and more safely, recover evidence such as shell casings or guns, interview witnesses, and ensure timely medical attention for any gunshot victims. The overall goal is to reduce gun violence and improve community safety.  

Interim Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle said the ShotSpotter will be in West Baltimore first and in East Baltimore by the end of the. “As you well may know, Chicago has this technology and they’ve been kind of mentoring us,” said Tuggle. “They’ve seen double digit reduction in shootings in their worst districts. The proof of concept works there and we're confident in its ability to work here.”

“Central to our strategy to reduce violence is the utilization of the latest crime fighting technology,” said Mayor Catherine Pugh. “We are confident that the implementation of this sophisticated intelligence gathering capability will enhance our efforts to get illegal guns and criminals off our streets.”

The Baltimore Police Department is committed to the reduction of illegal gun use and its initiative to combat gun violence in our communities. Our mission and commitment is to protect the quality of life in our communities by creating an environment of enhanced safety and security.

The ShotSpotter technology is a series of audio sensors deployed high up on top of light posts and buildings. When a gunshot goes off the sensors triangulate the sound and pinpoints the number of shots fired and the location. ShotSpotter trained acoustic experts review and qualify all gunfire incidents and alert law enforcement immediately, all within a minute, and usually within 30 seconds, of the gunshot occurring.

“Shotspotter, along with our Strategic Decision Support Centers, will continue to position us to be proactive in the crime fight, but also quickly reactive should a gun be discharged,” said Interim Baltimore Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle. “This technology will enhance our ability to quickly identify suspects illegally firing guns in Baltimore City.”

According to released statement, ShotSpotter helps police departments transform policing practices from reactive to proactive by instantly notifying officers of gunshot crimes in progress with real-time data delivered to dispatch centers, patrol cars and even smartphones. First responders receive precise gunfire incident information, allowing informed decisions for faster emergency response while also improving situation intelligence and increasing first responder safety. ShotSpotter gunfire data also enables law enforcement agencies to improve evidence collection, prosecution and overall police effectiveness. ShotSpotter is installed in more than 90 cities across the United States and the world.