Metro Expanding Its Shotspotter Program

Audio Sensors Used To Detect Gunshots In Real Time

Mitch Kelly
October 18, 2019 - 5:56 am

Photo Courtesy: Dreamstock

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LAS VEGAS, NV (KXNT) - The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and Clark County Commissioners will be expanding the ShotSpotter gunfire detection technology into several neighborhoods in the Las Vegas Valley after pilot programs showed successful results.

The first pilot program was launched in 2017 in the Northeast valley and was expanded to include a second location in the South-Central and Southeast parts of town.

ShotSpotter is an acoustic detection technology that uses audio sensors to detect, locate and alert police agencies to the location of gunfire incidents in real time. The technology does not replace the need for people to call 9-1-1 to report possible crimes in progress but enhances police response to scenes, evidence collection and crime-fighting efforts to stop gun violence.

During the first nine months of the pilot program, ShotSpotter identified 487 potential gunshot events, with 65 percent of them going unreported to police.  Of those events that were reported to 9-1-1, ShotSpotter reported events faster than 9-1-1 dispatch – 86 percent of the time – and often with more accurate location information. Phone calls to 9-1-1 typically take time to process and initial reporting information from callers, while important, often can be vague. 

The ShotSpotter technology is monitored by Metro’s Fusion Watch unit. When gun shots are detected, alerts are broadcast over Metro’s radio channels and acknowledged by dispatch. Metro patrol officers are able to monitor information from their vehicle consoles and mobile phones using a ShotSpotter application. The technology has allowed Metro to detect and address more discharges of illegal gunfire, locate potential victims faster, and collect more evidence such as shell casings to make more arrests.

“Data shows that our highest crime areas tend to be poorer neighborhoods where the sound of gun shots happens so frequently that many people don’t bother to call 911,” said Commissioner Lawrence Weekly. “The ShotSpotter technology helps police pinpoint problem areas and improve their response time, which in turn helps restore people’s faith in law enforcement and community policing efforts.”