City of Nashville testing new technology to combat gun violence - WSMV News 4

City of Nashville testing new technology to combat gun violence

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(WSMV file photo) (WSMV file photo)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Mayor Megan Barry's Office announced a new pilot program today they hope will help reduce gun violence and improve community safety in Nashville. 

“My administration is dedicated to reducing gun violence in Nashville,” said Mayor Megan Barry in a release Friday. “Last year, we had 422 reported shooting incidents, and that’s 422 too many."

The technology, ShotSpotter, uses audio frequencies to detect the location of gunfire and provide real-time alerts to law enforcement so they can respond more quickly to incidents. 

ShotSpotter dispatchers use the frequencies picked up by multiple sensors in an area to triangulate the sound of the gunfire, pinpoint the location of the incident and then send dispatch alerts to local law enforcement -- all in less than a minute. 

City leaders also hope it will improve gaps in reporting gunshot incidents. 

ShotSpotter is already used by first-responders in 90 U.S. cities, including Oakland, Calif., New York City, and Washington D.C.

In those cities, studies show the technology identifies many more gunshot incidents than those reported to local police. 

Of all ShotSpotter incidents detected in both Washingon and Oakland, only 12 percent were reported to police. In New York, only 16 percent were reported.

Last year in Davidson Co., 458 calls reporting gunfire were made to 911. 

Using the data from the study, that means an estimated 3,300 gunshot incidents went unreported in 2017 alone. 

“The men and women of the police department and our federal partners are committed to the safety of families in our public housing communities and, as we saw in the Sudekum neighborhood Wednesday, are continuing to work to hold violent criminals accountable for their actions,” Chief Steve Anderson said. “I expect that ShotSpotter technology will complement our proactive strategies, which include adding extra-duty officers into the areas to both deter crime and strengthen relationships with neighbors.”    

The pilot program was approved by Metro Council on Tuesday evening. It will be funded by Metro Government's "4% Fund."

In the pilot, audio sensors will be set up on light posts and buildings around the three Metro housing developments officials say historically have the highest reports of illegal gunfire before summer 2018.

Those neighborhoods are James A. Cayce Homes in East Nashville, Napier-Sudekum Apartments just south of downtown, and Buena Vista Heights/Elizabeth Park neighborhoods near Metro Center. 

Once in place, officials will track the effectiveness of the program by monitoring ratio of alerts compared to 911 calls, arrested made, guns seized and the number of gunfire victims. 

If successful, the city will look to roll out the program in other areas with high amounts of gun violence. 

Metro will host meetings in each community where the program will take place in late February:

  • Cayce meeting: Tuesday, February 20, 2018, at the Martha O’Bryan Center from 5:30-7:00 p.m.
  • Buena Vista Heights/Elizabeth Park meeting: Wednesday, February 21, 2018, at the North Precinct Community Room from 5:30-7:00 p.m.
  • Napier/Sudekum meeting: Thursday, February 22, 2018 at the Pruitt Library from 5:30-7:00 p.m.

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