The ShotSpotters of DC

By Anupum Pant

In most cities when gunshots are fired, the police firstly never hear them go off. Even if they do, they try and go everywhere to see where it came from. By the time they reach the actual spot where it was fired, it is too late. The perpetrator has left.

But the police department of DC uses a 1.8 million dollar system called the shotspotter which comprises of several microphones dotted all over the place which can detect gunfire. But that’s not all.

A gunfire almost always has three microphones which are closest to it. So these three microphones work in harmony, detect the difference in time it took the sound to reach them and triangulate the exact spot where the gun shot was fired. They can do it with an accuracy of 25 metres. That I think, is money well spent.

The shotspotter system has several other features built in. It, after facing initial problems, can now say for sure if it was a gunfire, and not a firecracker. Besides that it can also tell officers the direction towards which it was fired. And the kind of gun it was fired from and so on…

via [WashingtonPost]

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