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Mon Jun 4, 2012, 10:32 AM

 

Shots heard from 2,200 miles away

A great new piece of technolgy that will be exploited as soon as the cops figure out how do it..

High-tech ShotSpotter can pinpoint gunfire on city streets, but some say it’s a breach of privacy
By Erica Goode / New York Times News Service
Published: June 03. 2012 4:00AM PST
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Pinpointing gunfire the ShotSpotter way
1: Employees of ShotSpotter monitor screens to look for alerts of gunfire at the company’s central office in Mountain View, Calif. The company can pinpoint the location of gunfire seconds after it occurs by triangulating sound picked up by acoustic sensors in a city that has subscribed to the service.

2: An alert appears for “multiple gunshots” on a street corner in Richmond, Calif., on a monitor. A technician quickly verifies that the sound is indeed gunfire and sends an alert to the local police.

3: Police arrive at the corner where the ShotSpotter system detected gunfire, and a man was found shot.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. —

At 7:22:07 p.m. on a recent Thursday evening, an electronic alarm went off in the soundproofed control room of a suburban office building here.

A technician quickly focused on the computer screen, where the words “multiple gunshots” appeared in large type. She listened to a recording of the shots — the tat-tat-tat-tat-tat of five rounds from a small caliber weapon — and zoomed in on a satellite map to see where the gun had been fired: North 23rd Street in Milwaukee, 2,200 miles away.

At 7:23:48, the technician, satisfied that the sounds were gunshots, sent an alert to the Milwaukee Police Department. Less than two minutes later — or 9:25:02 p.m. Wisconsin time — a tactical team arrived at the address to find five .22-caliber shell casings and a bleeding 15-year-old boy who had been shot in the arm. The casings, said Chris Blaszak, a detective assigned to the department’s intelligence fusion center, were found within 17 feet of where the alert had placed the shooter. Total elapsed time: just less than four minutes.

Milwaukee is one of an increasing number of cities across the country — just under 70 to date, including some in the New York area — that are using a gunshot detection system, called ShotSpotter, to pinpoint the location of gunfire seconds after it occurs. Last year, the company that developed ShotSpotter began offering a more affordable system, and that has brought in new clients and led other cities to consider trying it.

The detection system, which triangulates sound picked up by acoustic sensors placed on buildings, utility poles and other structures, is part of a wave of technological advances — among them, license plate scanners, body cameras, Global Positioning System trackers and hand-held fingerprint identifiers — that is transforming the way police officers do their jobs. But like other technologies, the gunshot detection system has also inspired debate.

In at least one city, New Bedford, Mass., where sensors recorded a loud street argument that accompanied a fatal shooting last December, the system has raised questions about privacy and the reach of police surveillance, even in the service of reducing gun violence.

And with recession-plagued police departments having to cut personnel and services, some cities have questioned the system’s benefits relative to its cost. Detroit’s City Council last year rejected the police department’s proposal for a three-year, $2.6 million contract, with one council member objecting that not enough officers were available to respond to the alerts.

Cities that installed ShotSpotter in the past bought the equipment and managed the alerts themselves — a model that often involved outlaying hundreds of thousands of dollars. But the company now offers a subscription plan for a yearly fee of $40,000 to $60,000 per square mile that includes round-the-clock monitoring of alerts by trained reviewers in Mountain View.


***more at link***

http://www.bendbulletin.com/article/20120603/NEWS0107/206030302/

41 replies, 3495 views

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Arrow 41 replies Author Time Post
Reply Shots heard from 2,200 miles away (Original post)
Meiko Jun 2012 OP
SGMRTDARMY Jun 2012 #1
Glaug-Eldare Jun 2012 #2
Tejas Jun 2012 #7
Ian David Jun 2012 #3
Life Long Dem Jun 2012 #4
marsis Jun 2012 #5
Atypical Liberal Jun 2012 #12
Tejas Jun 2012 #6
Hoyt Jun 2012 #8
friendly_iconoclast Jun 2012 #9
Glaug-Eldare Jun 2012 #10
SGMRTDARMY Jun 2012 #11
Atypical Liberal Jun 2012 #13
BiggJawn Jun 2012 #14
Atypical Liberal Jun 2012 #15
Glaug-Eldare Jun 2012 #16
BiggJawn Jun 2012 #18
Tejas Jun 2012 #19
gejohnston Jun 2012 #20
BiggJawn Jun 2012 #21
Atypical Liberal Jun 2012 #27
Glaug-Eldare Jun 2012 #28
rrneck Jun 2012 #22
Atypical Liberal Jun 2012 #25
rrneck Jun 2012 #29
Atypical Liberal Jun 2012 #31
rrneck Jun 2012 #32
Glaug-Eldare Jun 2012 #33
Atypical Liberal Jun 2012 #34
rrneck Jun 2012 #35
Atypical Liberal Jun 2012 #36
rrneck Jun 2012 #37
Atypical Liberal Jun 2012 #38
rrneck Jun 2012 #39
Atypical Liberal Jun 2012 #40
rrneck Jun 2012 #41
NewMoonTherian Jun 2012 #17
Atypical Liberal Jun 2012 #26
NewMoonTherian Jun 2012 #30
TupperHappy Jun 2012 #23
Glaug-Eldare Jun 2012 #24

Response to Meiko (Original post)

Mon Jun 4, 2012, 10:37 AM

1. "1984" has truly arrived.nt

 

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Response to Meiko (Original post)

Mon Jun 4, 2012, 11:01 AM

2. Solving crimes, killing privacy

Having perfect knowledge of evidence in trials would be great, but this is too great a cost. Erich Honecker would've paid dearly for such technology. Putting the anecdote about saving a kid's life in Milwaukee makes it more difficult to oppose, but the fact of the matter is many millions of people have died at the hands of such villains as would abuse this system. If the shot finding technology was physically unable to be abused, I'd endorse it in a heartbeat, but it comes with too much risk. It's a trade I just can't make.

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Response to Glaug-Eldare (Reply #2)

Mon Jun 4, 2012, 12:42 PM

7. Not to mention the tying up of resources.

 

Perps can simulate a gunfight by firing hundreds of rounds in one area, all available units respond, all the while their cohorts are robbing stores in another.

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Response to Meiko (Original post)

Mon Jun 4, 2012, 11:03 AM

3. My city has it, and I got to see it in action on a tour of the police department.

It's an amazing piece of technology.

They played back recordings for us of things like gunshots, exploding tansformers, fireworks, and the slamming of a pick-up truck tailgate.

Anything over a certain decibel level that fits a range of profiles is displayed, recorded, and identified by the computer. Anything unidentified is left for human operators or police on the scene to identify.

I didn't ask them if they had a record of the time I used dry ice to explode water bottles in my back yard.

While I don't think this will do much to reduce crime, I do think it will save lives, by reducing the amount of time it takes for first responders to show-up at the scene of gunshots.

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Response to Meiko (Original post)

Mon Jun 4, 2012, 11:06 AM

4. The days of wires and wiretapping are long over.

 

"New Bedford, Mass., where sensors recorded a loud street argument that accompanied a fatal shooting last December, the system has raised questions about privacy and the reach of police surveillance, even in the service of reducing gun violence."

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Response to Meiko (Original post)

Mon Jun 4, 2012, 11:19 AM

5. I tell ya

 

I'd be buying cases of firecrackers. Civil disobedience may be the only solution.
Dispatch, we've got 142 shots fired.

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Response to marsis (Reply #5)

Mon Jun 4, 2012, 09:23 PM

12. These things can differentiate between firecrakcers and gunshots.

 

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Response to Meiko (Original post)

Mon Jun 4, 2012, 12:36 PM

6. I thought this would be bed-wetting over shooting down satellites with a 50 caliber Glock.

 

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Response to Meiko (Original post)

Mon Jun 4, 2012, 04:41 PM

8. Why object? Are carriers worried they might get caught after shooting an unarmed teenager?

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Response to Hoyt (Reply #8)

Mon Jun 4, 2012, 07:12 PM

9. Very *good*, Hoyt! You managed to avoid using the Z-word.

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Response to Hoyt (Reply #8)

Mon Jun 4, 2012, 07:17 PM

10. Do you believe there is a right to privacy outside the home?

I think this opens the door for the police and courts to regard any sound detectable from a public place as fair game for surveillance, and admissible in court. I don't want to go down a path that ends up with Aural Surveillance Devices keeping a continuous eye on us. It's bad enough having cameras everywhere.

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Response to Hoyt (Reply #8)

Mon Jun 4, 2012, 07:34 PM

11. Wow

 

no mention of Z or L.

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Response to Meiko (Original post)

Mon Jun 4, 2012, 09:27 PM

13. I have no problem with these kinds of things.

 

Also bear in mind here that these devices cannot actually hear shots 2000+ miles away as the article implies. In reality, the operatorthe listening device.

All these devices are are highly sensitive directional microphones that have software that can detect the sound profile of gunshots, and can differentiate them from other "bang"-like noises.

These things were developed for soldiers to use in urban environments, so that they can detect and zero in on sniper fire.

I don't have a problem with police using these devices at all.

Guns fired in public can be heard and recorded and investigated.

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Response to Atypical Liberal (Reply #13)

Mon Jun 4, 2012, 10:17 PM

14. Today, gunshots. Tomorrow, something near and dear to YOU...

Or do you for one, welcome our new electronic Overlords?

"... developed for soldiers to use in urban environments...". OUR urban environment? Yeah, fuck Posse Commitatus, We're talking Public Order here.

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Response to BiggJawn (Reply #14)

Mon Jun 4, 2012, 10:30 PM

15. No one is talking about fucking Posse Commitatus.

 

We are talking about law enforcement using a tool developed for the military to detect gunshots in civilian areas.

I fail to see how detecting and responding to gunshots can possibly be a bad thing. Especially since the the device can easily determine the location of the shots and if that location happens to be, say, a shooting range, then no alert need be raised. But when the shot happens inside city limits, where the discharge of firearms is illegal except in emergencies, then it would be extremely beneficial to dispatch the police to such events.

This is no different than the cameras mounted on police cars that automatically scan license plates that come into view for outstanding legal issues.

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Response to Atypical Liberal (Reply #15)

Mon Jun 4, 2012, 10:59 PM

16. I'd get behind it with certain protections,

i.e., a binding statement in law that the authority to use this particular technology does not extend to any other use of audio sensing devices that doesn't exclusively detect gunshots.

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Response to Atypical Liberal (Reply #15)

Tue Jun 5, 2012, 04:44 AM

18. If they can track gunshots, tracking speech can't be far behind.

Sure, who can't agree that tracking gunshots is a good use of technology for safety. Which is why it will be abused, "Public Safety".

I fear for the inevitable mis-use of it. It just smacks so damn much of Big Brother to my thinking. Like England and their 4 cameras for every person. I'm not a fan of the license plate cameras or the face-scanning technology, either.

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Response to BiggJawn (Reply #18)

Tue Jun 5, 2012, 01:13 PM

19. Think your OnStar is turned off?

 

Think again!

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Response to Tejas (Reply #19)

Tue Jun 5, 2012, 01:17 PM

20. now you just talked me out of

a Chevy Volt.

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Response to Tejas (Reply #19)

Tue Jun 5, 2012, 03:07 PM

21. WHAT OnStar?

No OnStar here, me friend, not here, no way...

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Response to BiggJawn (Reply #18)

Tue Jun 5, 2012, 06:13 PM

27. If you are in public, you can be observed, and heard.

 

You don't have any expectation of privacy when you are in public.

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Response to Atypical Liberal (Reply #27)

Tue Jun 5, 2012, 06:39 PM

28. Where I'm from, the 4A comes with me.

Police are certainly empowered to record any sound I make in public (or in private), but only in connection with a bonafide investigation or traffic stop, or if I give consent. Even outdoors, I have a "reasonable expectation of privacy" with regard to audio recording.

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Response to Atypical Liberal (Reply #15)

Tue Jun 5, 2012, 03:40 PM

22. There is one difference.

A private corporation feeding at the public trough. They sound a lot like alarm companies that call the cops for you. Those assholes ate a burden on public resources, and this bunch is no less incentivized.

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Response to rrneck (Reply #22)

Tue Jun 5, 2012, 06:10 PM

25. I fail to see the problem.

 

If an alarm goes off, the police are supposed to respond.

Hell, how many people in this forum want everyone to be disarmed and solely rely on the police for protection? Well, that means if your burglar alarm goes off, you need police!

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Response to Atypical Liberal (Reply #25)

Tue Jun 5, 2012, 06:51 PM

29. It's a way to make money at public expense.

There's not much chance of actually catching the shooter. When the cops get there they'll find a wounded victim or a dead body next to a shell casing. This system will be installed in urban areas where there are already lots of ears. Most of the time somebody will call the cops anyway who will arrived and find the same thing. The only difference is the taxpayers will be paying somebody to do what most people do anyway. It's classic disaster capitalism.

Plus, much like microstamping, it would be incredibly easy to spoof the system for which the taxpayers will also pay. Its a win win for the bloodsuckers who sell and run the system.

I worked for an alarm company in college. False alarms were so bad they started writing tickets for them. Who would get the ticket for these false alarms? It would be a cash cow. And that's not to mention possible abuse of the technology.

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Response to rrneck (Reply #29)

Tue Jun 5, 2012, 10:53 PM

31. Even THAT is worthwhile.

 

There's not much chance of actually catching the shooter. When the cops get there they'll find a wounded victim or a dead body next to a shell casing.

Even THAT is worthwhile. You now can start emergency services rolling to the precise location as soon as shots are fired.

This system will be installed in urban areas where there are already lots of ears. Most of the time somebody will call the cops anyway who will arrived and find the same thing. The only difference is the taxpayers will be paying somebody to do what most people do anyway. It's classic disaster capitalism.

This system never sleeps, is never ambivalent, and is extremely precise in locating the shot.

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Response to Atypical Liberal (Reply #31)

Tue Jun 5, 2012, 11:14 PM

32. And all the false shots.

All it takes is a few cars backfiring and idiots just shooting in the air to spoof the technology. Not to mention fireworks.

The system that never sleeps is worthless without sufficient emergency services personell to respond. Without enough cops it will quickly get de-prioritized. But if you took the money it cost and used it to hire more police officers the added deterrence would have a much more positive effect.

More cops on the beat deter crime and build community relations. The company that sells the service just profits from it, and it's wrong to profit from human misery.

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Response to rrneck (Reply #32)

Tue Jun 5, 2012, 11:26 PM

33. There's a study that suggests it's effective

at http://csganalysis.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/shotspotter_efficacystudy_gls8_45p_let_2011-07-08_en.pdf

and I could support it being used in some municipalities, with restrictions. That said, erecting microphones all over town doesn't do much to improve already shitty police-community relations. When completely innocent people don't want to call 911 because they're suspicious of the police, there's something seriously wrong.

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Response to rrneck (Reply #32)

Wed Jun 6, 2012, 07:39 PM

34. These devices can discriminate between those kinds of things.

 

All it takes is a few cars backfiring and idiots just shooting in the air to spoof the technology. Not to mention fireworks.

These devices can tell the acoustic signature of gunfire as compared to things like cars backfiring or fireworks.

People shooting into the air, however, will get pinpointed and will trigger an investigation, just as you would want.

Complaining about these kinds of devices is like complaining about the police using two-way-radios.

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Response to Atypical Liberal (Reply #34)

Wed Jun 6, 2012, 07:46 PM

35. The police using two way radios aren't relaying their messages through a third (profit making) party

And people shooting in the air can be gone before the cops can even begin to think about starting an investigation.

I am less concerned with the police having the use of the technology, although I think there is ample potential for abuse. My concern is that it is a cash cow for some corporation that doesn't have to be responsible for failures in their system. Nothing is better than people policing people. Unfortunately, there is no money in paying people to work, but there's plenty of money in producing technological gadgets that offer the illusion of progress when they are actually designed to profit from failure. This technology will not reduce crime or catch criminals. The bad guys can adjust tactics to defeat it as it is being installed, but by then the taxpayers will be contractually obligated to pay for it and it will be too late.

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Response to rrneck (Reply #35)

Fri Jun 8, 2012, 10:32 PM

36. Nothing wrong with contracted services.

 

The police using two way radios aren't relaying their messages through a third (profit making) party

There is nothing wrong with using contracted services. I'm not against the police running their own gunshot-tracking network, but I bet a lot of them contract out a lot more of their IT work, even if to other city departments. Same for the garbage collection.

And people shooting in the air can be gone before the cops can even begin to think about starting an investigation.

So because criminals might run away from the scene of the crime we should ignore technology that allows us to pinpoint when and where it happens instantaneously?

The rest I'm not going to bother to quote, it's just a new spin on the old Luddite theme. Assuming this technology works as advertised, it's a great step forward in public safety.

Imagine a device invented, like some kind of satellite or drone surveillance, even if contacted through a third party, that could identify fires. Would you be against that, too?

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Response to Atypical Liberal (Reply #36)

Fri Jun 8, 2012, 11:08 PM

37. Fires aren't gone the minute they're lit.

And if instantaneous pinpoint tracking doesn't help reduce crime, it isn't worth the money.

Privatization of public services is a serious issue in this country. Why do you think the Republicans want to strangle government? There's a huge market to exploit there. Would you like you fire and police privatized? If you think it will never happen, just keep letting corporate America chew away at it.

I don't like microphones on light poles any more than cameras.

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Response to rrneck (Reply #37)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 12:14 AM

38. So are you against the technology or who is operating it or both?

 

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Response to Atypical Liberal (Reply #38)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 12:20 AM

39. I'm against the privatization if pubic services.

I'm also against profit from human misery.

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Response to rrneck (Reply #39)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 02:30 PM

40. So if the police owned and operated these devices you'd be OK with them?

 

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Response to Atypical Liberal (Reply #40)

Sat Jun 9, 2012, 02:45 PM

41. I'd feel a lot better about it.

People helping people is best though.

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Response to Meiko (Original post)

Tue Jun 5, 2012, 12:33 AM

17. I cannot think of a more astronomical drain on police resources.

Responding to every "shots fired" would bankrupt any town and tie up forces that could be addressing legitimate concerns. I doubt many cities would be interested in this, besides those run by Bloomberg's goon squad.

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Response to NewMoonTherian (Reply #17)

Tue Jun 5, 2012, 06:12 PM

26. What could be a better use of police resources than to respond to GUNFIRE?!?!

 

Responding to every "shots fired" would bankrupt any town and tie up forces that could be addressing legitimate concerns. I doubt many cities would be interested in this, besides those run by Bloomberg's goon squad.

I cannot imagine why you would not want police responding to every single occasion guns are fired in places where they are not supposed to be fired.

It seems to me this is one of the highest priorities of police work - responding to violence.

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Response to Atypical Liberal (Reply #26)

Tue Jun 5, 2012, 09:48 PM

30. You know, I wasn't looking at it from the right angle.

Big, densely populated urban areas may benefit from this. My remark was a result of imagining it in my own town, where it would be stupidly impractical. Thanks for giving me pause to take a second look.

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Response to Meiko (Original post)

Tue Jun 5, 2012, 03:44 PM

23. Incredibly misleading headline

The shots are not actually being heard from 2,200 miles away. The shots are detected in the city using acoustic sensors, and then that data is transmitted to a monitoring station that happens to be 2,200 miles away. The monitoring station could be on the other side of the planet for all that it matters, or just down the street.

Who comes up with these headlines?

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Response to TupperHappy (Reply #23)

Tue Jun 5, 2012, 04:08 PM

24. Just a thought...maybe Shotspotter, Inc.?

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