The city of Fort Myers just approved funding for a gunfire detector. It’s called Shot Spotter and claims to be able to tell where a gun shot came from after it has been fired.
Here’s how they say it works:
Their acoustic sensors are placed on buildings or lamp posts, and when a shot is fired, the sound is recorded. From there Shot Spotter measures how long the sound takes to get to each sensor, and triangulates the spot. Once their analysts determine it’s an actual gunshot, they immediately alert law enforcement.
Now that the city approved funding, it would be covering a 4 square mile radius of the city. It starts around State Road 80 and First Street, and ends near Evans Avenue. That radius is the cause of nearly 60% of shootings and 48% of homicides occurred between January 1, 2015 and March 11,2017. They’re hoping this will help them solve some of these cases.
The technology does come at a price. It cost the city $874,002 over the span of three years.
Now that sounds great on paper. But the real question is: does it work?
There’s a mix of reviews, but generally positive. About 10 cities in Florida current have Shot Spotter, and cities like Miami love it. Their mayor says their homicide rate has dropped by 35% since its start in 2014, and they’ve since approved to triple their Shot Spotter coverage .
Broward County, though didn’t really agree. They tried a pilot program for a year, and pulled the plug in 2011 . Broward Sheriff’s Office said the technology only helped them with four arrest. They said the system could not distinguish between firecrackers and big trucks downshifting on I-95.
One thing to note is this technology does not prevent gunshots, but City Council is confident this will help them track them down, faster. If everything goes well, we could have this running in Fort Myers starting October of this year. We’ll let you know how this works for the Fort Myers area.