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ShotSpotter showing promise in Baltimore County

Measure success in its first week
Gunshot detection tech: Does it enhance policing or is it just costly?
Posted at 4:34 PM, Aug 02, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-03 07:06:50-04

ESSEX, Md. — The promise of ShotSpotter is to isolate the sound of gunshots cutting down on the response time for officers to find the shooter and provide aid to the victim.

Even though it’s only produced three alerts in its first week in Baltimore County, it’s being viewed as a success.

“Well, we’re already seeing some success under this pilot project, but we’re going to take a look at the numbers,” said Joy Stewart of the Baltimore County Police Department, “We’re going to see the impact it’s had, whether it’s brought about a meaningful impact on the community and our crime fight and then make a decision at that point.”

Police won’t disclose the exact locations where the acoustic sensors have been placed, but we know they are only being utilized in the Essex and Wilkins precincts.

Areas where gun violence including juveniles has run high.

RELATED: Baltimore County police set to launch gunshot detection pilot program

Is ShotSpotter the answer?

Perhaps not in and of itself, but with nearly three-quarters of a million dollars in federal grant money paying for it, it appears there’s very little to lose.

In a written statement, County Executive Johnny Olszewski’s press secretary, Erica Palmisano, says, “This pilot will be one of several tools in our toolbox—joining other commonsense measures like expanded cameras, license plate readers and other technology, which the county will explore and deploy to combat violence and keep our communities safe.”