Gunshot Detection System Covers a Third of Pittsburgh

Gunshot Detection System Covers a Third of Pittsburgh

A gunshot-detection system hailed by the Pittsburgh police is poised to cover nearly a third of the city this year.

A gunshot-detection system hailed by the Pittsburgh police is poised to cover nearly a third of the city this year.

The Pittsburgh city council endorsed an expansion of the system to reach all six police zones, stating on the North Side. Members will take a final vote on Tuesday on the $3.38 million agreement to expand the system over the year.

The system uses microphones to monitor constantly for gunfire, relaying alerts to dispatchers even when no one calls 911. Pittsburgh began a pilot with the technology in January 2015 in Zone 5, where it tracks an area of three square miles between East Hills and Garfield.

During that time, 6,000 indications made by the technology pointed to more than 2,200 gunfire incidents, according to the Department of Public Safety. Police have made 48 arrests amid responses to the system's calls and responders have located 83 shooting victims.

"Overall, we found we are able to get to victims and to crime scenes quicker," Zone 5 police Cmdr. Jason Lando said.

He called the technology invaluable in rendering aid, location crime scenes, recovering evidence and assisting in prosecutions. Police found they had been missing some East End gunfire because residents were accustomed to the noise and don't always call 911 when they hear it.

If approved by the council, the gradual-rollout should be complete by years-end and would include about 19 square miles citywide, targeting areas that together accounted for about 80.5 percent of Pittsburgh's gunfire calls and 87.5 percent of gun-related homicides from January 2015 through December 2015.  

 

About the Author

Sydny Shepard is the Executive Editor of Campus Security & Life Safety.

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