May 24 2007

Birmingham Police Get $1 Million Gunfire Detector

Birmingham Business Journal

By Jimmy DeButts,

Birmingham, Ala., Police Chief Annetta W. Nunn believes a new gunfire detector will help improve the quality of life in the city for residents. The city has acquired a ShotSpotter Gunshot Location System using a $1 million grant that it has received from the U.S. Department of Justice. A telephone-based sensory system, ShotSpotter will be able to detect when a gun has been fired over an area covering more than six miles, and pick up information for forensic and intelligence analysis that will allow local police to determine the type of weapon used, the direction of the shots, and the location of drive-by shooters on the move. The information will be provided in real time, and will include an audio file. "We must work to ensure that law enforcement has the most technologically advanced tools available to combat violent crime," says Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), who secured the funds for the city. Law enforcement agencies using ShotSpotter report a 50 percent increase in arrests involving gunfire, and a 30 percent decline in the rate of violent crime.