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Spot the Shot

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2007
2 pages
This article describes the gunshot location systems produced by ShotSpotter and implemented in South Carolina in 2003.
The gunshot location systems produced by ShotSpotter use a network of weatherproof acoustic sensors to record and locate gunshots and other loud noises. The system uses relative arrival times from a minimum of three acoustical sensors to triangulate and determine a location, employing technology similar to that used by geologists to pinpoint the epicenter of an earthquake. Gunshots show as red dots. The marked map shows a 911 dispatcher the location of the gunfire. The entire process usually takes no more than 6 to 10 seconds, leading to more rapid incident dispatch. Charleston and North Charleston, South Carolina received initial funding for their gunshot location projects under the U.S. Department of Justice's Safe Neighborhoods program. The initiative provided funding for the installation of 2 gunshot location systems featuring 32 sensors (8 per square mile). The cities select coverage areas based on their frequent appearance on reports related to violent crimes, firearms offenses, and drug-related incidents. Charleston has added eight more sensors to fill in gaps or weak areas in targeted areas and North Charleston is in the process of adding four to six more to cover gaps.

Date Published: January 1, 2007