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SDPD: Gun Shot Detection Technology Led To Quicker Response Times

SDPD contract with Shotspotter was one year; the agency is currently reviewing data and considering renewing the contract.

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    SDPD: Gun Shot Detection Technology Led To Quicker Response Times
    Monica Garske

    The San Diego Police Department says they have had success after a one-year pilot program using high-tech gunshot detection technology, installed in four southeast San Diego neighborhoods.

    The system is called Shot Spotter and it detects the sound of gunfire with pinpoint accuracy, according to the company behind it. 

    NBC 7 Investigates first reported on the department’s use of the technology more than a year ago.

    The SDPD released a “report card” on the technology and how police are using it in an area with the highest number of gun crimes in San Diego.

    “Because we get an exact location from ShotSpotter, we are able to respond quickly,” said Captain Terrance Charlot of Southeastern Division. “We can find a victim and render aid.”

    According to police, the technology detected 131 shootings in almost the ten months it has been in place.

    Charlot said response time to ShotSpotter is four and a half minutes on average, compared to seven minutes for emergency calls.

    A few in the community remain unconvinced as to the equipment’s effectiveness and its cost, according to comments made at a Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee Meeting.

    “Out of 131 calls, there were three arrests,” said Bishop Cornelius Bowser of San Diego’s Charity Apostolic Church. Bowser has been a vocal critic of utilizing the technology in only southeastern San Diego neighborhoods, and the way the department began the program.

    “I would hope you would not continue to fund this when we really did not get community feedback before this program began,” he said.

    Chief Shelley Zimmerman said during evening walkabouts and at community events, many people have expressed support for the program.

    “The message we’re sending is ‘If you’re going to shoot a gun in our neighborhoods, you should expect to be arrested,’” Zimmerman said.

    The department is still deciding on whether it will renew the contract with ShotSpotter. It is also reviewing data to decide what other neighborhoods might benefit from it.