The gunshot detection technology names Shotspotter went live at 5 o'clock yesterday evening in Baltimore covering five square miles of the western district.
Now, if a gun is shot, Baltimore Police will know when and where it was fired, and they did four times within the first eight hours of the program going live.
"At the end of the day we can’t respond to something that we don’t know about, this gives us knowledge. This gives us reliable knowledge that gunshots have occurred in a particular area," said Interim Baltimore Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle.
Tuggle says the new system picked up four dischargings between 6:08 p.m. and 1:37 a.m. this morning on Bentalou Avenue, McHenry Street, North Dukland Street and Eutaw Place.
In those first four instances, there were no gunshot victims found and only a couple of casings were recovered, but the more important thing police say, is that officers on patrol got the alert on their phones and responded before anyone could report gunfire.
Police say only one of the four dischargings was called into 911.
"We're trying to make our response time a lot quicker and that is where the true value in it is," Tuggle said.
But this gunshot detection technology has bigger implications.
As we profiled here last month , Baltimore police is set to launch two predictive policing centers.
The centers are real-time data rooms where police alongside analysts deploy resources based on what a computer algorithm thinks will happen next.
Shotspotter is a crucial data set in those calculations, now online recording gunshots in real time and making Baltimore closer to predicting crime, rather than just responding to it.
"With all of these things working together, sort of seamlessly is what we hope, we will be able to get more in front of it than behind it, at that's what we are hoping to do," Tuggle said.
Shotspotter is up and covering a five-square-mile radius in West Baltimore.
By the end of the month, east Baltimore will be covered for a grand total of 10 square miles of coverage.
Both predictive centers are still coming online in that time as well, but Baltimore says it still has to purchase the third-party computer algorithm that will pull all these data streams together.