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Inside ShotSpotter: The system detecting gunfire in South Bend

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Just a few years ago, police had to guesstimate where shots rang out based on evidence from neighbors. Now, ShotSpotter has helped local police officers pinpoint a location of shots fired down to almost the exact spot they rang out.

Gunfire in South Bend

If you heard gun shots Monday night in South Bend, that was the South Bend Police Department testing their ShotSpotter system. But they didn’t notify the public on purpose. The department released a statement Monday saying they want people to call in shots fired so the community doesn’t become desensitized by the loud noise, even if they have the ShotSpotter system to alert them.

Many residents took to Facebook to discuss their concerns over gunfire happening across the city. Some say they call in every time they hear shots ring out while others say they don't bother anymore.

Police say this system is meant to keep you and your family safe, especially since police no longer have to make an educated guess on the location when shots are fired in a neighborhood. But as of right now, the whole city isn’t wired.

Having ShotSpotter around

The system covers a 3 mile radius in South Bend but the exact location of those device are kept a secret and police haven’t said yet if they plan to expand that radius. What we do know is the system is costing the city big bucks.

Last year, the city paid $165,000 to keep the ShotSpotter system in service including maintenance and monitoring.

Statistics and numbers

According to developers at ShotSpotter, the busiest hours of gunfire are between 10:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. in cities in the Midwest. ShotSpotter says there is an average of about 26 incidents a day at these times, particularly during the summer.

In 2016, more than 70,000 published gunfire incidents happened across the U.S. That’s 205 a day or 8 an hour.

For more information and stats on gunfire in the Midwest region or on a national scale, click here.


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