The ShotSpotter technology can identify gunshots up to 2,000 meters away.

Could a high-tech solution help solve Seattle’s rising gun violence problem? On Thursday, The City of Seattle’s Public Safety Committee plans to discuss the possibilities of installing ShotSpotter, a gunshot detection system that uses acoustic sensors and software to triangulate where shots were fired. Meanwhile, an accompanying video surveillance system can be used to capture images of criminals fleeing the scene.

The company claims that in some communities as few as 20 percent of gunshots are reported to 911. And it says that the acoustic sensors can pick up gunshots from as far away as 1,000 to 2,000 meters.

Founded in 1995, here’s how Mountain View, California company describes its technology:

When gunfire occurs outdoors, ShotSpotter Flex sensors and software triangulate and pinpoint the precise location of each round fired within seconds. Detailed incident data is immediately sent to the SST Operations Center, our secure data processing and alert qualification facility. Immediately, a SST gunfire and acoustic expert analyzes the data, qualifies the incident and sends a validated alert to the dispatch center or other Public Safety Answer Points (PSAP) and even directly to mobile and field personnel.

KING 5 reports that the technology is already in use in 70 cities across the country, including San Francisco, Boston and Minneapolis. The system could cost the city between $40,000 to $60,000 per square mile, with three “hot zones” targeted for initial deployments.

Here’s a report on the technology from our media partner, KING 5.

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  • Mark Orth

    What a great idea! If we cannot get rid of the guns then lets make the gun owners fearful of being caught when they fire their weapons and then let’s catch them. I was in the Seattle neighborhood just earlier this evening where the family man was killed by random gunfire on Cherry. I found myself nervous and fearful of being shot, so why not.

  • davidgeller

    I suspect we can find a better use for that money. Like, perhaps, more feet on the street, better community policing, gang intervention, etc. Same for those stupid video drones they’re considering. Don’t do it! The Seattle Police Department doesn’t have the credibility quotient to begin experimenting with expensive technology. Let’s try going a few years with reduced violence, reduced police brutality [claims] and fiscal prudence before pursuing projects like this.

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