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3rd time the charm for city gunshot detection

Baltimore to re-launch program by winter
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Posted at 4:50 PM, Jul 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-12 16:59:41-04

Baltimore is hoping third time is the charm with gunshot detection technology.

Wednesday morning Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh announced how Baltimore will again begin using the technology to help the crime fight in the city.

Gunshot detection works by strategically installing microphones around the city to record a the sound of a gunshot, triangulate the location and then have police respond.

The mayor used the term ShotSpotter in referring to the program Wednesday morning in her press briefing but that is the brand name of just one of the companies that offers the service.

Pugh’s chief of communications Anthony McCarthy said the city has received a new grant of $370,000 to purchase the technology. Two companies responded to the request for proposal and the city chose a company called Safety Dynamics out of Tucson, Arizona.

Both the Baltimore Police Department and Safety Dynamics have been in discussions as to where in the city to begin installing the technology. The city will start with 20 locations at first by the winter. If all goes well, McCarthy says the city will continue to expand the program.

Mayor Pugh spoke about the role of technology in driving the crime down in Baltimore and gunshot detection will be a part of that.

“Part of our violence reduction program is reducing violence in certain specific areas so we have to expand,” Mayor Pugh said.

But this would not be an expansion, rather the third attempt at using a technology the city has walked away from in the past.

Baltimore has tested gunshot detection at least twice before, the latest in 2014 under Commissioner Anthony Batts. Then, the pilot was set up in Cherry Hill and worked in concert with existing city watch cameras that, when a gunshot was detected, would refocus on the area where it originated.

The program was eventually discontinued by the prior administration, but today the mayor’s office confirmed it will try yet again.

“We are bringing this back to Baltimore,” McCarthy said.

The city says the first 20 locations should be installed and tested by the end of this year.