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How ShotSpotter technology is helping combat rising Sacramento crime

Technology takes on crime in Sacramento County
Technology takes on crime in Sacramento County 02:43

SACRAMENTO — It's been a violent few weeks in Sacramento County, with a string of deadly shootings fueling a rise in violent crime. Deputies are utilizing any and all resources to keep up with troubling trends, including technology known as ShotSpotter.

It's the creation of the company SoundThinking, and it works as an acoustic gunshot detection system that gives law enforcement a precise and accurate notification if a sensor picks up on a gunshot.

Sgt. Amar Gandhi, a spokesperson for the Sacramento County Sheriff's Office, praised the accuracy and the boost it's giving to the department.

"The shot-spotter technology takes our response to a whole new level," Sgt. Gandhi said. "This doesn't target any certain group, or anything other than gunshots, in areas that we know are impacted by gun violence."

ShotSpotter is used by 150 agencies across the United States, and the company's SVP of Forensic Services, Tom Chittum, says it is revolutionizing how law enforcement does its job.

"Some might think it's magic. It's not, It's math, science, and technology all harnessed for public safety," he said. "It allows police to know about gunfire they may not know about already with our sensors spread throughout areas that have historically suffered high rates of gun crime."

Chittum says the technology is so advanced it can give exact details on not only location but also differentiate between fireworks or other similar noises like the backfire of a car. It also helps enable accuracy in location response which can be the difference between life and death. Sgt. Gandhi says patrol officers no longer have to rely on 911 phone calls to make sure they are responding to the correct area.

"They instantly get an alert on their phone and from there, they are given a precise location on where it occurred," Sgt. Gandhi said. "The accuracy is amazing, it's literally within feet from where the gunshot occurred, it will navigate you where the casings are and it's almost always perfect."

The company says it's not a cure-all to rising gun violence, but it can be used to help keep communities safe.

"We know 80-90% of gunfire in urban areas goes unreported to police," Chittum said. "Those are lots of missed opportunities for police to hold somebody accountable."

Learn more about SoundThinking and the ShotSpotter technology here.

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