Gunshot Detection Technology Needs Community Buy-In: Report

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gunshot detection

Illustration courtesy Urban Institute

Gunshot detection technology (GDT) is most effective when law enforcement agencies thoroughly incorporate it into day-to-day operations and other systems of investigative tools, and is supported through communication with local communities, says a new report from the Urban Institute.

Although GDT’s accuracy has been documented, a combination of tools and responses is needed for maximum effectiveness of the technology, along with partnerships with the communities most likely to experience violent crime, the institute says.

GDT uses a network of outdoor acoustic sensors to automatically detect, verify, and rapidly notify police dispatchers and officers of the specific times and locations of firearm discharges.

The technology is credited with improving the accuracy of shooting notifications, reducing response times to firearm incidents, decreasing violent crime rates, and enhancing police-community relations. The institute says that lessons learned from the report can help law enforcement and municipal partners make informed decisions about investing in GDT and can offer guidance for maximizing its impact of this technology.

The report recommends that police maintain good communication with community members because the technology cannot replace their direct observations. It also urges police to leverage “complementary technologies like NIBIN or Etrace” to improve GDT’s impact.

The report can be downloaded here.

This summary was prepared by TCR Washington bureau chief Ted Gest.

One thought on “Gunshot Detection Technology Needs Community Buy-In: Report

  1. GDT is an expensive joke due to the reflection and masking of sounds in a complex urban environment. Even in a non-urban environment sound propagation is erratic. I have called police for the sound of gunfire “in the next street” which, in fact, was sound reflected/deflected from a police-involved incident almost a mile away. GDT is close to useless in the real world.

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