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Hearing An Anti-Crime Fix: Ears May Have It

various guns confiscated by KC police in 2008
KCUR photo by Dan Verbeck
various guns confiscated by KC police in 2008


Kansas City, Mo. – Most members on a Kansas City council committee seemed enthusiastic about a crime fighting tool for which the police department has been waiting years, expecting a federal grant. The program "hears" and plots where guns are being fired.

The seller, Shot Spotter Gunshot Location System, brought the presentation to city hall with an audio-video power point. A voiceover proclaimed, "the sensors can detect the shot, and plot the location on a satellite map to within 25 meters of the exact spot."
Shot-Spotter claims where its programs are in place murder rates have dropped from 23 to 40 percent. Among users are the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office and Police of the Metropolitan District of Columbia. Sensors can hear and note events, by site and even caliber of gun. Councilwoman Melba Curls needed convincing of the system's value. She hears the bangs often but said she doesn't report anything.
Other council members agree, it's like living near train tracks. Once your system is used to it, you don't notice any more.
System cost is 225 to 250 thousand dollars per square mile to begin.

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