Denver Police to Conduct Live-Gunfire Testing of ShotSpotter System
Residents Will Hear Gunshots in Several Neighborhoods Friday Night
On Friday night (April 22) between 8:00 p.m. and midnight, the Denver Police Department (DPD) will be conducting live-gunfire testing of the recently-expanded ShotSpotter system, which detects the sound of gunshots and helps DPD to identify the area in which the shots were fired.
The live gunfire tests will take place in West, Southwest and Northeast Denver. The controlled tests will consist of a sequence of gunshots followed by validation of sound detection by ShotSpotter. During the tests, a bullet trap will be used to ensure public safety — no bullets will be fired into the air or ground, and there is no danger to the public. The hours of 8:00 p.m. to midnight were chosen for testing because acoustics are different at night and the majority of shootings and shots fired occur at night and in the early morning hours.
“The sounds of gunfire in a neighborhood can be very unsettling for residents, so we are working to notify folks in advance of the testing,” said Denver Chief of Police Robert C. White. “We understand the live gunfire tests may cause temporary disruptions in neighborhoods, but it’s critical that we ensure this new equipment is functioning properly so that ShotSpotter can continue to help us quickly respond to gunfire-related incidents.”
The ShotSpotter system uses a network of acoustic sensors to detect when a gun is fired and then precisely and quickly pinpoints the location of the gunfire. In less than a minute, ShotSpotter notifies 911 dispatchers of the incidents. By quickly notifying police with the precise information, ShotSpotter helps speed police response, has the potential to save lives, increases weapons-related arrests, and enhances the safety of our neighborhoods. While the ShotSpotter system is very effective, DPD still encourages the community to report sounds of gunfire.
Denver ShotSpotter Facts:
• DPD began using ShotSpotter in early 2015
• The program expansion will triple the size of areas served
• To date, ShotSpotter has generated more than 450 alerts including more than 1,600 gunshots
• ShotSpotter alerts have resulted in approximately 30 arrests and 18 guns recovered.
• To maintain the integrity of the program, the locations of ShotSpotter detection devices are not publicly disclosed