Every day, 100 Americans are killed with guns and hundreds more are shot and injured. Law enforcement is continuously seeking innovative ways to end the gun violence epidemic.
This is not an easy task, especially when there are so many types of gun violence to tackle, for example: urban gun violence; domestic violence; and mass shootings.
According to the magazine, Mother Jones, there have been more than 110 mass shootings in the US since 1982. The most deadly in recent US history was the Las Vegas attack in 2017, leaving 51 fatalities.
This past weekend brought the heartbreaking news from not one but two mass shootings; one in El Paso, Texas and the other in Dayton, Ohio. As reported by CNN, at least 31 people died and more than 50 were wounded.
So what is police technology doing to combat the problem?
Gunshot Detection Technology
Big cities with even bigger gun violence problems, including Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York, have been using ShotSpotter technology, which gives police officers valuable information about gun incidents.
How does it work? ShotSpotter uses sophisticated audio sensors to detect and locate gunfire incidents and to alert law enforcement agencies in real-time. Sensitive microphones ascertain the location of the gunshot and send the information to the trained surveillance office.
The company maintains a 24/7 Incident Review Center staffed by acoustic experts to quickly analyze and confirm that acoustic events are gunfire. The busiest hour in 2018 was apparently on December 26 from midnight to 1:00 am, with 62 incidents detected.
PORTLAND’S NIBIN MACHINE
The Portland Police Bureau has recently implemented a special machine that photographs and analyzes shell casings for unique markings. The data is then sent to specialists within the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) for further examination.
This technology, called a National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) machine, is just one piece of a new bureaus’ strategy in response to shootings.
Fox 12 Oregon contacted the Multnomah District Attorney’s Office for comment on the new NIBIN machine. A spokesman sent this statement:
“The Portland Area Crime Gun Initiative (PACGI) is about trying to stop future shootings by cooperating with all of our system partners in the response to the shootings that occur. If we build our cases faster and smarter, then hopefully we will prevent future shootings from occurring. We recognize that a small number of individuals are usually conducting the vast majority of shootings. The Portland Area Crime Gun Initiative highlights our commitment to keep the public safe by using scientific data and evidence collection to inform our prosecution and enforcement efforts.”
Chicago’s Support centers
In addition to ShotSpotter technology, Chicago Police have launched Strategic Decision Support Centers in districts with historical challenges of violence.
These centers include predictive crime software that uses police video surveillance footage, gunshot detection technology, and real-time crime statistics to help patrol commanders determine where to deploy beat and tactical officers.
National Public Radio has reported that Chicago Police Department’s SDSCs, or data-driven offices, “are outfitted to use sensors to detect gunshots and help deploy officers to trouble spots.” The SDSCs are operated by both the CPD and the University of Chicago Crime Lab.
In 2018, CPD’s crime results show a “22 percent reduction in murders and a 25 percent reduction in shootings compared to the same period in 2017,” according to a statement from the department.