SEATTLE - With 22 murders in Seattle already this year, the City Council is looking for anything that can help stop the violence. One system being looked at will be unveiled on Thursday. It is called Shot Spotter. The system uses listening devices to pinpoint gunfire, seconds after it happens.
Already in use in 70 cities, Shot Spotter speeds up police response time by sending officers to the exact location even before a 911 call comes in. If a call is made at all.
“A good 80 percent of the time people hear gunshots, they don’t call 911,” said Ralph Clark, the company’s President.
Council Member Bruce Harrell says the system also has a camera system that triggers only when a shot is detected. The video can capture a shooter running or driving away from the scene.
The company has crunched crime data, and is proposing sensors in three so called “hot zones."
Harrell says it is not a case of big brother listening in.
“If someone lives in a neighborhood and hears gunshots, they are going to want to know where they are coming from, who is shooting the gun, and what damage has been caused by the gun,” he said.
In tight budget times, Shot Spotter markets itself as a force multiplier. Meaning it adds value to the officer already on the streets. As for cost, Harrell said it would run in the neighborhood of $40,000 to $60,000 per square mile.