With gun violence appearing in more and more headlines and growing concerns among citizens of many large U.S. cities about armed violence, many cities, public services, and even private businesses are starting to invest in gunshot detectors. Both the public and law enforcement are seeing all of the benefits of systems like this, so how can gunshot detection help you?
Like most alarm systems, gunshot detectors act as a service that notifies the authorities when gunfire has occurred in a specific location. Depending on whether it is placed indoors or outdoors, the system functions slightly differently, but with the same accuracy, relaying an address and details about the shooting such as the number of shots fired, indicators of the type of gun used, and whether or not there are multiple firearms involved.
Indoor gunshot detectors are triggered by both the infrared flash of gunfire as well as the pop of sound. Placed in common areas such as reception areas and hallways, this system will immediately alert law enforcement that gunfire has been detected in a specific address, giving the authorities far more precise information about an active shooter than second hand accounts from witnesses, and allowing them to dramatically decrease their response time to crimes.
Outdoor gunshot detectors function similarly, with the added feature of recorded audio that kicks on the instant a suspected gunshot is detected. This allows someone from the gunshot detection analysis center the chance to listen to what has just been recorded in order to verify it is, in fact, gunfire. Additionally, the system is able to detect if the gunfire is moving away at 30 mph or 2 mph, helping them determine if the shooter is on foot or more likely to be in a car. With the added capability of communicating with surveillance cameras, the detector can provide video of a shooter's vehicle and license plate (or face, if they are on foot), and further assist authorities in tracking them down.
The accuracy of these systems is improving by leaps and bounds. With detection as close as within 20 feet of the shooter's location, police officers and first responders are entering situations with far more information than previously available before detection systems. In San Francisco, with gun violence and homicide at an alarmingly high rate in the mid-2000s, gunshot detection systems were installed and the city has observed a 50% decrease in gun violence. And with a nearly 50% decrease in homicides over the last decade, some have drawn the conclusion that this is partially attributed to the new technology.
With fear of being caught acting as a primary deterrant in criminals considering gun violence, gunshot detection acts as a reinforcement in reducing incidents. And with crime statistics improving and evidence of a higher capture rate of active shooters, gunshot detection systems are set to take off as the new standard in security and public safety.