The Columbus Division of Police hosted a show and tell to explain its new Shotspotter and how it works.
Mayor Andrew Ginther and Deputy Chief Richard Bash drove home that people still need to call 911 when they hear gunfire.
“Everybody has a role to play in neighborhood safety,” said Ginther. “This is not to replace anything that we are already doing.”
Ultimately, the company strategically installed the microphones in the Hilltop. They have the capability of triangulating from where the shots were fired, how many, how fast the shooter was moving and in which direction. Police would not reveal the location of the microphones. However, they did say that they cover a three-mile area. Linden and South Side neighborhoods will be the next to receive the technology.
Lisa Boggs lives in the Hilltop and actively works with her neighbors to keep them informed about new information.
“We still need to be more vigilant and calling in and giving descriptions to keep everybody safe,” Boggs said.
Mayor Ginther echoed Boggs sentiment.
“Eighty percent of gunfire, gunshots across the country go unreported,” said Ginther. “That does two things: law enforcement doesn’t know about it they can’t respond, and second of all if folks don’t see a response from law enforcement, maybe people in the neighborhood think that the police don’t care.”
The microphone system will record any loud noise: car crashes, loud mufflers, fireworks. Then it will be analyzed in a California lab by a technician. When the data is determined to be gunshots, it will then be sent within one minute to police via the internet. Chief Deputy Richard Bash explained that this gives can give a potential victim more time to get help and less time for a shooter to get away.
“That’s a game changer for us,” said Bash. “We’ve depended on someone telling us, ‘I think it came from behind my house.’ So now we have a huge crime scene the size of a football field and this makes it easier to find a victim.”
Bash said that he has talked with other agencies that utilize this system. He has found that the data is accurate within a 40 by 40 area.
“If we’re able to get to a victim in a timely manner, think of the lives we could save,” Bash said.
As for Boggs, she explained that she believes gunshots have already decreased.
“I feel safer already,” she said. “The buzz has gone through the neighborhoods that there’s going to be technology in the neighborhoods very soon, and I really believe that there’s been a reduction already just from the threat of the Shotspotter being implemented.”