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Gunfire Detection Technology Expanding in Miami

In an effort to further decrease the incidents of gun violence in the city of Miami, city commissioners included funds in the recently approved 2018 city budget to expand the current gunfire detection technology in the city. Many residents may not be aware, but the city has been using gunfire detection technology in certain neighborhoods since 2014. $325,000 in the proposed 2018 budget is allocated to triple the current zone where the technology is utilized.

ShotSpotter, Inc. Technology Detects Gunfire

ShotSpotter, Inc is a company that developed a technology that uses a network of acoustic sensors built to pick up gunfire sounds and almost instantly report locations of that gunfire to authorities. As of June of this year, close to 90 cities use the technology in an effort to decrease gun violence in their neighborhoods. The company has three product lines: ShotSpotter Flex for urban areas, SST Secure Campus, and ShotSpotter SiteSecure for universities and office complexes respectively.

In an outdoor setting, such as throughout the neighborhoods in Miami, sensors and cloud-based software are used to capture data on audio files, and that data is sent to incident review centers. Acoustic experts review the data and add any additional information. These professionals then send the alert with location information to authorities within about 45 seconds. In an indoor setting, instant alerts are sent within 10 seconds.

Gunfire Detection Techonlogy Use to Expand in Miami

The current area of use for this technology is over four miles of the city in Liberty City, Little Haiti, Overtown, and Park West. The expansion would include an area of over 10 miles throughout Coconut Grove, Little Havana, Allapattah, Overtown, Model City, parts of the Upper Eastside, and downtown. The first part of this expansion is set to take place in 2018, and the next half the following year.

Goals and Successes of Program

ShotSpotter's goals as a company are to cut down on gun violence and improve community relations. Most gunfire that happens in communities is not reported by residents. According to a Brookings Institution report, 90% of the gunfire detected by this technology was not reported by residents in the communities where it occurred.

Since Miami first adopted the program in 2014, the homicide rate has plummeted by 35%, and gunshot incidents have been reduced by 50%, according to Commissioner Francis Suarez. In the first year of use, the technology picked up 8,280 incidents of reported gunfire, most of which were not reported by neighborhood residents. In addition to the City of Miami, other jurisdictions that use this technology in the area include Miami Gardens and Miami-Dade County.

Critics Question Accuracy and Efficacy

Critics of the program question the accuracy of the technology, and also the efficacy. There is the possibility that false gunfire can be reported, and innocent people could be implicated in crimes that they have not committed simply by being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

If you have been accused of a crime where technology played a role your arrest, it's important that you contact an experienced defense attorney. Your attorney will understand the system, and be able to help you navigate the charges against you.

References:

Huston, C. (2017, June 07). ShotSpotter IPO: Five things to know about the gunshot-detection company. Retrieved October 05, 2017, from http://www.marketwatch.com/story/shotspotter-ipo-five-things-to-know-about-the-gunshot-detection-company-2017-05-26

Smileydsmiley@miamiherald.com, D. (n.d.). Miami tripling area of city covered by gunfire detection system. Retrieved October 05, 2017, from http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article176206371.html

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