Microphones could join cameras in Indianapolis’ anti-crime surveillance arsenal, reports the Indianapolis Star. ShotSpotter, a system that detects gunfire and can pinpoint its location, is due to be installed in a high-crime neighborhood by the end of the year, says Public Safety Director Scott Newman. The system, developed in Mountain View, Ca., is used in East Palo Alto, Ca.; Rochester, N.Y.; and Springfield, Ma. It will be installed soon in Saginaw, Mi. About three dozen microphones are installed in a one-square-mile area to track where gunshots originate. The system includes cameras to view the locations and shooters.
Computers analyze the volume of each gunshot and display the location on a video screen. The information can appear about as quickly as the shots are fired. The video screens are placed on the desks of police dispatchers, who then can relay the gunfire’s location to patrol officers. The screens also can be placed in patrol cars that have mobile data links such as the ones used by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. “We’ve made a couple of arrests because it’s instantaneous,” said LaRon Singletary of the Rochester police, who are moving into their third year with ShotSpotter. For Indianapolis, the first square-mile installation would cost about $500,000, and each square mile after that is about $250,000. The system’s range also is limited to small areas because the cameras are difficult and expensive to move.