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Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bratton Launch New Gun Detection Technology

March 16, 2015

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ShotSpotter to decrease officer response time and enhance public safety

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner William J. Bratton today announced the deployment of new gunshot detection technology that will decrease officer response times to gunshot incidents and enhance community and public safety. NYPD will pilot the ShotSpotter system in five zones of approximately three square miles each located within various precincts in the Bronx and Brooklyn. The first pilot area to go operational on Monday, March 16, 2015 will be in the Bronx.

“Thanks to the NYPD, New York City continues to be the safest big city in the world—and this technology will help us stay even safer. Today’s announcement builds on the department’s long tradition of introducing pioneering techniques to reduce crime, and will transform the way the NYPD responds to gunshot activity in our neighborhoods. ShotSpotter will help protect our residents, our communities, and our police officers,” said Mayor de Blasio

“Gunshot detection technology like ShotSpotter will add yet another tool to the NYPD’s technological crimefighting capabilities.  It will enable us to respond to shooting incidents in a more timely manner, and provide us with the ability to help victims, solve crimes and apprehend dangerous suspects more quickly.  The NYPD thanks the various civic and community partners that helped make this project finally happen in New York City,” said Commissioner Bratton.

Since April 2014, the NYPD has been working with the company ShotSpotter to bring the technological capabilities required for a gunshot alert and analysis system to New York City. Similar systems are already in use in Washington, DC, Newark, NJ, East Orange, NJ, Plainfield, NJ, Atlantic City, NJ, Camden, NJ, and Nassau County, NY.

The ShotSpotter system triangulates the location of a gunshot to within 25 meters of where the shot was fired. The system then forwards a notification to an incident review center where a trained operator reviews the audio file to determine if the sound was that of a gunshot or some other similar-sounding audio incident (e.g. fireworks, engine backfiring, etc.). Once the incident is determined to be a gunshot, an alert is sent to the NYPD via the Domain Awareness System (DAS). This alert includes relevant information such as number of shots fired, location of the gunshot (including map access), if the shooter was moving at the time of the incident (such as in a vehicle), and the direction of the shooter’s movement. Upon receipt of such an alert, the NYPD can dispatch units to the location of the shooting. 

This technology will allow the NYPD to dispatch officers to the exact location of a shooting, rather than a general area, which has potential to save valuable time and resources and increase the likelihood that the shooter will be identified and caught, victims will receive aid, and evidence and witnesses will be available. ShotSpotter has the potential to allow police officers to effectively and efficiently respond to gunshot incidents that may otherwise go unreported to the police. 

Based on the results of the pilot program, NYPD anticipates incorporating the ShotSpotter alerts in the DAS mobile application, allowing officers to receive alerts directly on their smartphone or tablet devices. The ShotSpotter system gives the NYPD the ability to use technology in an intelligent and strategic way by giving police officers immediate access to the most accurate information available. 

“It is important to be creative in our approach to address public safety,” said Chair of the Committee on Public Safety, Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson. “The new ShotSpotter technology will allow officers to cut down on response times and build upon their existing resources. By providing valuable, real-time information, ShotSpotter will assist officers in addressing every instance of potential gunfire. I am thankful to Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Bratton for their commitment to innovative technology and thank all of the partners who assisted in bringing the ShotSpotter system to the City of New York.”  

"As a 22-year NYPD veteran, I know that when it comes to public safety, we must continue to innovate to stay one step ahead of those seeking to do harm to civilians and police officers. Mayor de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Bratton have embraced this philosophy time and again, and their decision to bring the ShotSpotter system to Brooklyn and New York City will improve the investigative abilities of New York's Finest, getting criminals off the streets sooner. I look forward to continued work with this Administration on exploring additional technologies that can reduce violence and save lives," said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

"Technology such as the ShotSpotter system can only help our police department keep crime down in The Bronx and New York City," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr."Our community is of utmost importance and today we see that commitment to build on the efforts to secure safety for residents and police officers. The ShotSpotter system is an extremely useful investigative tool that will aid the men and women of the New York Police Department in keeping our streets safe and help reduce gun violence throughout our borough. We thank New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Police Department Commissioner William Bratton for implementing this technology and finding new ways for our police department to stay ahead of those individuals who want do harm in our city."

"The implementation of this new technology shows Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Bratton's continuing dedication to making our City safer. I am optimistic that the ShotSpotter system can aid in transforming the way the NYPD responds to crime, helps victims, and enhances public safety. I look forward to seeing the results of the first trial program in the Bronx," said Congressman Charles Rangel.

“We all know that every second counts when lives are at stake,” said Congressman Joe Crowley. “That’s why implementing new technology that helps reduce the NYPD’s response time to potential gunshots is critical and of tremendous value. I applaud the department for their commitment to continuously finding new ways to fight crime and keep our communities safe.” 

“It is imperative that we in government do everything possible to help law enforcement in the battle against gun violence,” said Congressman Eliot Engel. “ShotSpotter technology will reduce response times to gunshot incidents, allowing our police officers and first responders to react more quickly to dangerous situations.  I applaud Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Bratton for working to bring ShotSpotter to New York City, as the system will make our communities safer.”

“New York’s new gunshot detection technology has the ability to reduce response time when shots are fired,” said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney. “It will ensure our officers know exactly where and when gunshots are fired, and that can make the difference in terms of saving lives and catching the bad guys. I applaud the city and the NYPD for working to marshal technological improvements to advance the safety of our city.”

“ShotSpotter will allow the New York City Police Department (NYPD) to respond to emergencies and solve crimes involving a shooting incident more quickly and efficiently. Thanks to this innovative technology, New York City police officers will be able identify and know exactly where a gunshot took place and take action immediately. I applaud Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Bratton’s efforts to ensure the NYPD remains at the forefront of technology to keep New York City residents and visitors as safe as possible,” said Congressman José E. Serrano.

State Senator Marty Golden, a former New York City Police Officer, stated, "With the increase in shootings throughout our City, I commend Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bratton for instituting an advanced program that will assist us in quickly apprehending the perpetrators involved.  The strides we have made in reducing crime must continue, and cognizant of this spike in shootings, the City is taking the right steps so to insure New York City remains the safest large city in America."

"I commend the Mayor and NYPD for continuing to employ technological advances in the interests of public safety and crime fighting,” said State Senator Andrew Lanza.

"I commend the de Blasio administration and Commissioner Bratton for using every resource at our disposal to combat gun violence, including this cutting-edge technology that will speed up response times and hopefully get guns – and the bad guys that use them – off our streets," said Council Member Rory Lancman.

"On average 32 people in America die from gun violence each day, so I applaud Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Bratton for attempting innovative ideas to address the issue in New York City. This pilot program has the potential to decrease officer response times to gunshot incidents and focus police resources to specific areas of need. It is my hope that with innovative policing tactics like Shot Spotter, along with multi-pronged, comprehensive solutions at a grassroots level, our city, state and country will become a safer place for all,” said Council Member Jumaane D. Williams, Deputy Leader and Co-Chair of the Council's Taskforce to Combat Gun Violence.

"ShotSpotter has proven to be a great new tool for Pittsburgh police and neighborhoods, and it is great to see it being adopted in more cities around the country. The system often alerts our police to crimes in progress before they are reported to 911, and gives residents in communities targeted by gun violence extra confidence that we are doing all we can to protect them swiftly and accurately." said Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto.

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