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One week after a gunman shot six people in Seattle, killing five of them before turning the gun on himself, police leaders will go before the Seattle City Council to discuss what they're doing to control gun violence.
Since the beginning of the year, there have been 21 homicides in Seattle.
Seattle Chief John Diaz, Deputy Chief Nick Metz, and other top brass will brief the council about the police and fire department's response to the recent shootings.
What if police could be notified of a gun going off somewhere in the city, seconds after it's fired? Technology that makes that possible has caught the attention of Councilman Bruce Harrell.
"ShotSpotter" is an audio monitoring system developed by a California-based company, SST Inc .
The company sets up microphones in targeted areas of a city. When an audio source picks up gunfire, police get "instant analysis" of the number of shots fired, shooter position, speed and direction of travel if the shooter is moving, and the exact time of gunfire, according to the company's sales documents.
In other words, a gun goes off, microphones here it, pinpoints where the shot came from, officers rush to the scene, make an arrest, and there's one more gun off the street. At least that's how their perfect scenario goes.
The system has been installed in Oakland, where police say it recorded 2,000 of instances of gun fire and helped them get 340 guns off the streets. Wired magazine first reported on ShotSpotter in 2007. Since then, the company says the system has been installed in 60 cities.
SST Inc. offers a yearly plan that includes set up, training and monitoring at a cost between $40,000 and $60,000 per square mile.
Privacy and civil rights activists, who have been concerned about video cameras, would likely have a problem with audio monitoring. The company says the system of microphones does not pick up or record human conversations.
At Wednesday afternoon's city council meeting (agenda) members of Washington Ceasefire and a number of religious leaders will suggest an anti-violence program for Seattle that involves mentoring and gang outreach.
There is no indication that the man who murdered five people in Seattle before killing himself, Ian Stawicki, had any connection to gangs. His family members say he was mentally unstable, and they feared something like this might happen.