Watch CBS News

Local Shot Spotter Testing Had Flaws, But Won't Delay Implementation

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- No, it's not some futuristic NCIS law enforcement tool.

It's called shot spotter -- a system of cameras in the most crime-plagued neighborhoods that will tell police in real time where gun shots are fired.

Pittsburgh city councilman Rev. Ricky Burgess has championed the technology.

"Police will have immediate notification when a shot is fired and where it came from, and they'll be cameras set up that perhaps will catch the shooter and give more information to the police," said Burgess last November.

Homewood, represented by Burgess, is the first to get shot spotter, but KDKA-TV has learned that initial tests there in December showed some flaws.

"We got some feedback from that initial test and that's what we're working on now, trying to adjust it and getting it to the point where it's working optimally," Sonya Toler, police bureau spokesperson, told KDKA's Jon Delano on Monday.

But both the police and SST Shot Spotter, which designed the system, downplay the problems, saying it's just part of the testing process.

"We learned from the first activation of newly installed sensors and then we complete the configuration, mapping, and install any additional sensors we think are needed," noted Theresa Marcroft, senior vice president of SST Shot Spotter.

For obvious reasons, neither the police nor the company will tell KDKA exactly where the sensors are located.

But they are being placed in a three square mile area in Homewood, and already they've picked up gunshot activity.

"We started collecting data on Dec. 22, and since then we've detected 57 separate instances of gun fire," reported Marcroft.

Police in 22 states are now using shot spotter, and police response to gunfire has dropped dramatically.

"We've seen the average response time go from over nine minutes to under 30 seconds," said Assistant Chief Orlando Cuevas of the Camden Police Department.

Company officials say the system should be up and working in Pittsburgh within the next month or so.

You May Also Be Interested In These Latest News Stories

Join The Conversation On The KDKA Facebook Page
Stay Up To Date, Follow KDKA On Twitter

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.