CAMDEN, NJ(CBSNewYork) — Old technology has found a new use in keeping streets safe and reducing crime in Camden.
As CBS2’s Kris Van Cleave reported, police can now pinpoint locations when shots are fired.
Gun fire on the streets of Camden can be captured by ‘Shotspotter’ a series of microphones designed to detect the sound of a gunshot and pinpoint its location to within 10-feet, before alerting police.
“It helps us catching guys and it helps us with officer safety. Now these officers are not traveling blindly into an area where a gunshot it,” Lt. Richard Verticelli said.
Lt. Verticelli has been on patrol in Camden for 17 years. He said technology makes a difference.
“It’s more difficult to commit gun violence in the city of Camden and get away with it in the city of Camden than it was 5 or 10-years-ago,” Lt. Verticelli said.
When Camden began using it, police discovered 38 percent of gunshots in one neighborhood weren’t being reported.
“Ninety-percent of the time people don’t call 911 when they hear gunshots, particularly the most afflicted communities that hear it all the time,” Shotspotter CEO, Ralph Clark said.
In one of Camden’s roughest neighborhoods the police don’t want to talk about specific locations, but the Shotspotter microphones are hidden in buildings and on roof tops throughout the streets.
The technology evolved from Cold War efforts to detect missiles, and police in 22 states now use it.
“We’ve seen the average response time go from over 9 minutes to under 30 seconds,” another officer added.
Camden credits Shotspotter, along with crime cameras for helping to cut the number of shootings and homicides in half over the last two years.
The technology costs between $60,000 and $100,000 a year per square mile.
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