The ShotSpotter gunshot tracking system has been adopted by 45 cities, universities and government sites, says the New York Times. It has been deployed recently in pockets of Westchester County, Nassau County, New Jersey and New Haven. Officials say it has helped the police respond to shootings faster, aid victims sooner, and catch suspects almost in the act.
“This thing has been tremendous so far,” said New Haven officer Joseph Avery. “We actually caught a woman with a smoking gun in her hand.” ShotSpotter is made by a 14-year-old company in Mountain View, Ca.; similar devices are made by Safety Dynamics of Tucson, and the Boomerang system, by BBN Technologies of Cambridge, Ma., is used by the military in Afghanistan and Iraq to track sniper fire. ShotSpotter uses microphones that transmit the sound of a gunshot to a police computer seconds after the firing. The wireless sensors gauge their distance from the noise. If the system sounds like Big Brother, it is, except it eavesdrops only on things that go bang.