- The city of Denver announced plans to expand the gunfire detection system ShotSpotter to downtown neighborhoods, including the area around the baseball stadium Coors Field. It’s the fifth geographic area to get the technology in the city.
- ShotSpotter uses acoustic sensors to detect when a gun is fired and transmit the detected location to emergency responders. Since the Denver Police Department adopted it in early 2015, the system has led to 134 arrests and 112 recovered firearms.
- Additionally, the city will increase police visibility and interactions around the ballpark, continue security-related educational sessions with business owners and stakeholders and expand a shared radio network for public safety officers across downtown Denver.
The expansion brings ShotSpotter to some of Denver’s most trafficked neighborhoods, especially around the ballpark, which attracts out-of-town tourists. It also builds on the city’s 2016 Downtown Security Action Plan, which the city says has led to year-over-year decreases in reported crimes and improved safety perception. The Denver Police Department will also create a Real Time Crime Information Center to better integrate gunshot detection with its High Activity Location Observation (HALO) camera network to help identify and locate suspects in the moment.
Other cities have found success using ShotSpotter or other gunfire detection technology, which can mobilize first responders quickly and save valuable time in responding to gunshots. Chicago, for example, says the system, combined with other smart policing strategies that rely on predictive data, helped reduce shootings by 28% in one year. Louisville last year got approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to use drones to respond to areas where ShotSpotter detected gunfire.
The technology has come with concerns from civil rights groups that the ShotSpotter microphones could be used to record conversations or disproportionately surveil minority communities, as reported by The Daily Beast. For police departments, though, the technology is being touted as an efficient way to improve public safety.
“Gunfire in our community is illegal, incredibly dangerous, and will not be tolerated,” Denver Chief of Police Paul Pazen said in a statement. “We as a community can make the greatest impact on public safety when we work together on innovative solutions."