Cop Tech “Listens” for Gunshots, Pinpoints Them

Technology being deployed in a couple of Chicago's most violent neighborhoods can identify the sound of gunshots and pinpoint responding officers to their location.

"Not only do we learn where the shots are being fired but now those officers can actually turn cameras on the location, get actionable intelligence that they can feed to the officers in the field as they're approaching," Supt. Garry McCarthy explained Thursday.

The system, called ShotSpotter, uses acoustic sensors that listen for the signature sound of a gunshot and then triangulate its location. Police say the system is very accurate, giving them an exact street address where the gunshots were fired.

Gary, Ind. has been using the ShotSpotter since 2005 with a good deal of success, but Chicago's record with gunshot detection technology has been less than stellar.

The new, more accurate system costs about $100,000 for every 1.5 square miles its used. It's currently deployed in parts of the Englewood, Chicago Lawn, Grand Crossing and Harrison police districts.

"We're going to make sure it works here and we're going to figure out how much we want, and we're going to figure out where we're going to get the funding from, and the likelihood is we're going to expand it," said McCarthy.

Newark, New Jersey used the same gunshot detection technology when McCarthy was superintendent there.

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