High-Tech ‘Ears’ Listen for Shots

Cara Buckley, New York Times, November 22, 2009


ShotSpotter is made by a 14-year-old eponymous company in Mountain View, Calif., that is considered a leader in the field of acoustic gunshot tracking, though there are other systems: Sentri, made by Safety Dynamics of Tucson, monitors smaller areas with cameras and microphones, and the mobile Boomerang system, made by BBN Technologies of Cambridge, Mass., is used by the military in Afghanistan and Iraq to track sniper fire.

The ShotSpotter system uses microphones that transmit the sound of a gunshot to a police mainframe computer seconds after the firing. The wireless sensors also gauge their distance from the noise, like bats, triangulating the information to direct the police to the shooting site. If the system sounds like Big Brother, it is, kind of–except, one police official insisted, it eavesdrops only on things that go bang.


ShotSpotter was deployed in Nassau County in late July, covering three square miles of an area the police refer to as “the gun corridor” in Roosevelt and Uniondale, two struggling, adjoining towns. {snip}



Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.

Comments are closed.