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Mayor Barry to Deploy Shotspotter Technology Pilot to Combat Gun Crime


Audio sensing detectors pinpoint location of gunfire incidents and report directly to authorities in order to improve public safety

Mayor Megan Barry, working with the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency, Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, and the Emergency Communications Center, announced today that the City of Nashville will pilot ShotSpotter technology in three neighborhoods to help address and fight gun crime. ShotSpotter is the leading technology solution for detecting the frequency and location of gunfire and provides real-time alerts to law enforcement so they can respond faster and to more precise locations than traditional gunfire reporting typically allows. This technology aims to reduce overall gun violence and improve community safety and has been deployed in over 90 U.S. cities, including Oakland, Calif., New York, and Washington, D.C.

“My administration is dedicated to reducing gun violence in Nashville,” said Mayor Megan Barry. “Last year, we had 422 reported shooting incidents, and that’s 422 too many. ShotSpotter will help us to better track gunfire and allow our officers to respond faster and more safely, recover evidence such as shell casings or guns, interview witnesses, and ensure timely medical attention for any gunshot victims. We are confident that this technology will help us better understand and address gun violence in Nashville.”

“The men and women of the police department and our federal partners are committed to the safety of families in our public housing communities and, as we saw in the Sudekum neighborhood Wednesday, are continuing to work to hold violent criminals accountable for their actions,” Chief Steve Anderson said. “I expect that ShotSpotter technology will complement our proactive strategies, which include adding extra-duty officers into the areas to both deter crime and strengthen relationships with neighbors.”

“Gunshot detection technology that is implemented in collaboration with the community is one tool that can help address gun violence. Knowing when and where shootings occur can help reduce response times and make those responses more accurate. We’re happy that Nashville will soon have access to this technology,” says Linda McFadyen-Ketchum, Volunteer Campaign Lead for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

The system helps to cover gaps in the reporting of gunshot incidents. Scholarly studies using ShotSpotter in Washington and Oakland have shown that only 12 percent of gunshots result in calls to police, and only 2-7 percent of gunshots result in charges of Assault with a Deadly Weapon (AWDW). In New York City, only 16 percent of ShotSpotter alerts have 911 calls associated with them. In 2017, 458 calls reporting gunfire were made to 911 in Davidson County. Using the information provided in these studies, an estimated 3,300 incidents of gunfire went unreported in 2017 alone. Through the use of this technology, we hope to create an environment that improves police response time and ultimately reduces gun-related crime.

The ShotSpotter system is a series of audio sensors installed on top of light posts and buildings throughout specific areas. When a gun is fired, the sensors triangulate the sound of the gunshot and pinpoint the location of the shots, as well as recording the number of shots fired. ShotSpotter-trained acoustic experts review and classify all gunfire incidents and alert law enforcement within a minute -- and usually within 30 seconds -- of the gunshot occurring. ShotSpotter delivers real-time data to dispatch centers, patrol cars, and even smartphones, alerting police officers of gunshot crimes in progress. This precise information allows officers and first responders to make more informed decisions and provide a better and faster emergency response.

This pilot program, being funded by Metro Government’s 4% Fund which was approved by the Metro Council on Tuesday, will be installed in the Cayce, Napier/Sudekum, and Buena Vista Heights/Elizabeth Park neighborhoods before the summer of 2018. These three neighborhoods have historically had the highest reported illegal gunfire. Throughout the pilot, the City of Nashville will be measuring the success of the installation by tracking:

  • ShotSpotter alerts compared to 911 calls
  • Arrests made
  • Guns seized
  • Number of gunfire victims

Following a successful pilot phase, the City of Nashville will look to roll the program out in other areas experiencing high amounts of gun violence.

Metro will have ShotSpotter present this pilot project to the community in a series of three meetings held later in February. Details of those meetings are listed below:

Cayce meeting: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 at the Martha O’Bryan Center from 5:30-7:00 p.m.

Buena Vista Heights/Elizabeth Park meeting: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 at the North Precinct Community Room from 5:30-7:00 p.m.

Napier/Sudekum meeting: Thursday, February 22, 2018 at the Pruitt Library from 5:30-7:00 p.m.