Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal
If a gun is shot and no one is around to hear it, does it get reported?
The answer is technically a “yes,” thanks in part to the City of Albuquerque’s ShotSpotter technology.
ShotSpotter is an acoustic device that scans for reverberations that match those of gunshots. If there is a likely match, that sample is then reviewed and an alert with an approximate location is dispatched to officers’ computers and smart devices using a ShotSpotter application.
“Instead of, ‘I heard gunshots in my neighborhood,’ we can actually pinpoint roughly down to the intersection or to the house where those gunshots came from,” Mayor Tim Keller said during an online news conference Friday. “We very much believe it’s going to help bring down gun violence in Albuquerque.”
Since the city’s “go live date” on July 17, the Albuquerque Police Department has recorded more than 800 shots fired with the acoustic surveillance device, and the technology was used by detectives to recover evidence in two homicide cases.
The technology isn’t entirely new: it was used during trial runs as early as late-May when individuals were accused of discharging a firearm from their vehicle near Central and Wyoming, after a Black Lives Matter protest over the slaying of George Floyd.
Of the six area commands in Albuquerque, there are a series of ShotSpotter networks in the Southwest, Valley and Southeast APD area command centers. Those locations were chosen due to “their high rates of gun violence,” interim Police Chief Harold Medina said.
At a price tag of at least $1.2 million, funding for ShotSpotter was part of a crime fighting package approved during the 2019 Legislative session.