Metro Looks To Curb Shootings With Alert System

NASHVILLE., Tenn. - What if law enforcement can figure out where someone fires a gun before responding to the potentially deadly scene? That's the hope of Metro city officials with a new pilot program called ShotSpotter.

The program would cover three areas that have had the highest rise in gun violence last year.

They include the James A. Cayce Homes, Napier-Sudekkum and the Buena Vista and Elizabeth Park neighborhoods in North Nashville.

Besides pinpointing where a shot is fired, the technology can figure out what kind of weapon is used and if there are multiple shooters.

"Once we learned about the technology, we learned about the research and some of the outcomes that happen to other cities it was something that we are very interested in pursuing," Mayor's Office of Neighborhoods and Community Engagement director Lonnell Matthews said.

ShotSpotter is currently being used in about 100 cities across the country. Nashville would be the first in Tennessee.

Some cities use ShotSpotter because shootings go unreported. Nashville is seeing that in some cases.

During the Feb. 6, city council meeting, members passed a resolution to contract with the alert system.

Audio sensors will be placed on buildings or lampposts throughout the specific neighborhoods.

If a gun is fired, sensors will detect where the sound came from and alert ShotSpotter analyzers who will then determine if the sound came from a gun.

If so, Metro's Emergency Communication Center will be notified and so will police.

The pilot program costs about $297,000. The Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency will cover about $100,000 and Metro will cover the rest from the General 4% Reserve Fund.

"This is going to save a lot of time. It's going to put a laser like focus, it's going to increase the responsiveness of law-enforcement and in doing all of that you create an environment where gun fire is least likely to happen because people with guns will know there's a higher risk of them getting caught if they actually use them," Matthews said.

City officials plan to meet with the specific communities later this month.

This pilot program will last one year, then officials will regroup and see how effective it worked.
 

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