Chicago officials are using new technology that recognizes the sound of a gunshot within a two-block radius, pinpoints the source, turns a surveillance camera toward the shooter, and places a 911 call, reports the Associated Press. “Instead of just having eyes, you have the advantage of both eyes and ears,” said Bryan Baker of Safety Dynamics in Oak Brook, Il., which makes the systems. After a successful pilot program, Chicago has installed 30 of the devices alongside video surveillance cameras in high-crime neighborhoods, with 12 more on the way, and dozens more to follow.
The system’s formal name is Smart Sensor Enabled Neural Threat Recognition and Identification — or SENTRI. The Los Angeles County sheriff’s department plans to deploy 20 units in a pilot test, and Tijuana, Mexico, recently bought 353 units, Baker said. Police in Philadelphia and San Francisco are close to launching test programs. Chicago police hope the gunshot detection systems will add to a technology-fueled crackdown on guns and gang violence. The city in 2004 reduced its homicide total to its lowest level since 1965 and police seized 10,000 guns — successes that were in large part credited to a network of “pods,” remote-controlled cameras that can rotate 360 degrees and feed video directly to squad-car laptops. The SENTRI systems add to that network.