CMPD to Test ShotSpotter in Uptown, Grier Heights

From The Charlotte Observer, March 20, 2013

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police on Wednesday plan to test specialized sensors meant to help pinpoint where shots are fired in uptown and the Grier Heights community.

DNC_DIGITAL_SURVEILLANCE_02

Digital surveillance devices including cameras and gun shot detection devices hang overhead on traffic light poles and atop buildings in uptown Charlotte

The test will begin at 8 p.m. and last for about an hour, according to police. The department notified nearby residents of the tests.

The ShotSpotter system uses a network of microphones activated by gunfire to quickly send officers to potential shooting scenes, even if no one calls 911.

To conduct the test, CMPD said staff in its Academy Range will fire guns into steel chambers meant to catch the bullets.

“There is no danger of any bullets escaping the testing area,” police said in an e-mail alert to residents. “But we wanted to notify everyone so that the sound of gunfire didn’t catch anyone off guard.”

The ShotSpotter technology was first used in Charlotte during last September’s Democratic National Convention, when police used the system to cover two square miles in uptown as part of its security plan.

But police have said they wanted to expand the crime-fighting tool into other areas. In February, they said the system would be installed in Grier Heights, has a neighborhood with a violent crime rate at five times the city average, according to Census data.

Researchers and police in other cities say that while there are benefits to the enhanced digital surveillance, the systems aren’t fail-proof. For example, they say the systems can pick up other sounds like firecrackers or cars backfiring that can sound like gunfire.

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Published in: on March 20, 2013 at 8:51 am  Leave a Comment  

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