Gunshot sensors installed in Birmingham, UK

    Birmingham is the first British city to install the Shotspotter Gunshot Location System, which is in use in 50 US cities. BBC News reports

    The £150,000 system records an audio clip and sends police a GPS location.

    The system, funded by the Home Office through Birmingham Safer Partnerships, has an 85% accuracy rate, Ch Supt Chris McKeogh said.

    It can tell if multiple shots were fired, or if they were fired from a stationary or moving location, the number of weapons used and in which order they were fired, according to the manufacturers.

    The system has been introduced in more than 50 US cities since 1995.

    A recent article at about the Springfield, Massachusetts deployment had this to say …

    Since its installation in July 2008, ShotSpotter has detected 4,158 gunshots, and contributed to 25 arrests and the seizure of 23 illegal firearms. In three instances it has alerted police to what would turn out to be homicides before the Police Department received a single 911 call.

    All of this occurred in the roughly three of the city’s 32 square miles, the area covered by the ShotSpotter system.

    “We’re getting spoiled by those three square miles,” said Sgt. John M. Delaney, aide to Police Commissioner William J. Fitchet. “Cops are getting used to it. It is something officers rely on.”

    ShotSpotter, installed at a cost of $450,000, is designed to locate the scene of gunfire through a process called “acoustic triangulation.”

    Based on these statistics, would the money have been better spent on paying for more sworn officers? Maybe some current or former LEOs can tell us what they think of the system in the comments.

    [ Many thanks to Rolf for emailing me the link. ]

    Steve Johnson

    I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!