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How New York City Police Plan to Use Smart Roofs to Control Gun Violence

July 25, 2014
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How New York City Police Plan to Use Smart Roofs to Control Gun Violence
The NYPD announced plans to roll out a $1.5 million pilot program which uses rooftop sensors to monitor and determine the exact location of gunshots stretching over 15 square miles of the city. Getty Images
Officers now have an additional tool in their crime-fighting arsenal: Sensors that detect the exact locations of gunshots.

As temperatures heat up, New York City police are cracking down on crime with a little help from the rooftops.

The NYPD announced plans to roll out a $1.5 million pilot program which uses rooftop sensors to monitor and determine the exact location of gunshots stretching over 15 square miles of the city, Capital New York reports.

The city has seen a recent uptick in shootings: 562 as of July 6 compared to 514 during the same time period last year. Mayor Bill de Blasio first mentioned the sensor program, created by California-based ShotSpotter Inc., when he ran for office last year.

Police commissioner Bill Bratton, who formerly served on ShotSpotter’s board, called the sensors “extraordinarily effective” at a City Council hearing in May.

“The best systems are those that you can tie in with your camera systems. You not only get recording of the gunshots, but you get the camera activation right away,” he said.

The two-year program includes special strategically placed microphones that use triangulation to detect exact locations of gunshots in real-time. Analysts monitor the microphones around the clock and distinguish the difference between actual gunshots and false positives from other sounds such as fireworks.

“This is the type of new and innovative technology that can be instrumental in aiding efforts to reduce the number of shootings and save lives in communities that have been hot spots of gun violence,” said City Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson, who chairs the public safety committee.

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