ShotSpotter: Washington, DC Acoustic Surveillance System Locates 39,000 Shots Since 2006
Acoustic surveillance systems were described recently at Habré, some of which are used by the police in the USA and other countries to detect the sound of a shot and then a police patrol travels to the place where the shot took place. The police say that people do not always call the police when they shoot somewhere. If they call, it can take a long time until a person decides to call, plus the police will arrive. As a solution to the problem, a real-time acoustic surveillance system, ShotSpotter, is used.
This system is far from new, in Washington, DC it was installed back in 2006 (that is, it was created much earlier), gradually improving. Over the years, this system localized 39,000 shots from firearms, and the police were able to respond quickly in each case.
The system itself is structured as follows: directional microphones are installed on houses, poles and other tall buildings, which pick up all the sounds. The acoustic point, so to speak, is equipped with appropriate software that conducts preliminary identification of sharp sounds, as well as GPS, which allows you to accurately indicate the place where the shot was fired. In the case of a positive identification of the shot, the information is transmitted to the central computer, where an additional analysis of the sound is carried out (in order to eliminate possible false positives, such as a flying helicopter, exploding firecrackers, which is more complicated, and any other interference). If the shot is confirmed, the patrol leaves for the place.
All this takes just a few minutes. In addition to the ability to quickly respond to an incident, the system brings other benefits. Thus, the number of incidents involving the use of a “firearm” in some regions of Washington, DC fell from 129 (in 2009) to 17 (last year).
After some time, the same system is planned to be installed at airports, in particular, at the Los Angeles airport, where the shooting incident happened recently.