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SHOTSPOTTER OFFERS STRATEGIES TO PREVENT NEW YEAR’S EVE CELEBRATORY GUNFIRE

December 31 Busiest Night of Year for Illegal Urban Gunfire

NEWARK, Calif. – December 11, 2014 – New Year’s Eve marks the busiest night of the year for illegal urban gunfire with a spike in gunfire incidents that last year accounted for 10.3% of the total for the entire quarter.  Last year, there were 11,508 incidents in ShotSpotter areas in Q4 2013, and of those, 1186 took place during the last six hours of the year. To help communities and law enforcement curb celebratory shooting, SST, Inc., the maker of ShotSpotter Flex™ and the global leader in gunfire detection, location, alerting and analysis, today shared strategies to help combat illegal urban gunfire on New Year’s Eve. Effective gunfire reduction strategies begin weeks in advance and include analysis, planning and research. Celebratory gunfire is a problem in many cities, particularly on New Year’s Eve, but with advance planning, law enforcement can prepare better and ultimately prevent gunfire in their cities.

Celebratory gunfire, a very serious issue, has wounded hundreds and killed dozens in recent years in the U.S. alone.  Deaths and injuries are reported and investigated every year, across the country, when people are struck, often fatally, by gunfire falling back to the ground.  Statistics show that there are strong seasonal gunfire periods, with 14.6 percent of all gunfire incidents taking place on the holidays around New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and the Fourth of July.  

Reduction Strategies for Law Enforcement
• Weeks in advance agency personnel (along with probation/parole officers, gang enforcement units) identify hot spot areas and address where celebratory gunfire was detected last year
• Uniformed agency personnel visit each address on the list and talk with residents
• Take the time to explain the dangers of celebratory gunfire and tell of first-hand tragedies the local agency might have experienced
• Remind residents of the criminal consequences of celebratory gunfire.  SST recommends publicizing and enforcing a strict “no tolerance” policy on this activity and aggressive prosecution of the case
• Assign special police units, or overtime cars, to hot spot areas for quick response to gunfire alerts

Strategies for Community Engagement
• Engage community and community leaders to be aware of the dangers of celebratory gunfire and encourage them to report all incidents
• Increase police and special unit presence showing community that law enforcement is serious about curbing gunfire, which in turn helps alert the community to proactive enforcing
• Encourage media to report about the dangers of celebratory gunfire and educate their audiences that this year law enforcement will take an active role to catch and prosecute offenders

SST has found that when law enforcement agencies implement steps to curtail celebratory gunfire they have been effective in reducing incidents.  Miami-Gardens Florida saw a 69% reduction in gunfire on New Year’s Eve 2013, over 2012.  Effective actions that they implemented included innovative policing strategies, community engagement and the deployment of ShotSpotter. 

“While New Year’s Eve is a time for celebration, there are some people in our communities who unfortunately celebrate by shooting guns up into the air. Every year these “stray” bullets injure and sometimes kill innocent people,” said Ralph Clark, CEO of SST/SpotSpotter. “With the busiest shooting night of the year quickly approaching, we want to help arm law enforcement and local communities with gunfire reduction strategies that have been used effectively in cities like Miami Gardens, FL, and could be implemented in any city across the U.S.” 

"We were pleasantly surprised by the 69% reduction of celebratory gunfire that we achieved last year,” said Alfred Lewers Jr., Assistant Chief, Miami Gardens Police Department. “Our Patrol Officers and members of the Gun Violence Reduction Squad are out and about now, making contact with neighborhoods to let them know the harms of celebratory gunfire and the fact that we will again be monitoring their neighbors, and asking that they refrain from this behavior on New Year’s Eve. We are pretty confident that the citizens of Miami Gardens will again act responsibly to make the 2015 New Years Eve even safer than it was last year."

SST, Inc. created a webinar to help law enforcement agencies prepare for, and reduce, celebratory gunfire on New Years Eve. The webinar includes tips on how to increase community awareness and engagement, identify hotspots and areas of high gunfire to better manage resources, and implement proactive policing best practices. Access the webinar archive here: http://www.shotspotter.com/blog/anticipating-celebratory-gunfire-steps-to-reduce-it-start-now

About ShotSpotter
ShotSpotter Flex helps local law enforcement agencies by directing police to the precise location of illegal gunfire incidents enabling first responders to aid victims, collect evidence and quickly apprehend armed, dangerous offenders. The ShotSpotter actionable intelligence can then be used to prevent future crimes by positioning law enforcement when and where crime is likely to occur. With ShotSpotter Flex police now possess a scientific barometer of success since smart policing leads to fewer shootings.

About SST, Inc.
SST, Inc. is the global leader in gunfire detection and location technology providing the most trusted, scalable and reliable gunfire alert and analysis solutions available today. SST ShotSpotter’s inaugural 2013 National Gunfire Index, released in April, revealed that gunshots are both vastly under-estimated and under-reported.  SST’s ShotSpotter Flex™ is the leading gunfire alert and analysis solution for detecting gunshots and providing critical intelligence to give law enforcement agencies the detailed real-time data needed to investigate, analyze and prosecute gun related crimes.  The company’s deep domain experience, along with cumulative agency best practice experience, delivers measurable outcomes that contribute to reducing gun violence. SST is a proven solution provider with more than 80 installations across the United States and the world. Privately held, the company possesses multiple patents resulting from nearly two decades of innovation in the area of acoustic gunshot location technology. Information about SST and ShotSpotter can be found at www.sst-inc.com or www.shotspotter.com. The full 2013 National Gunfire Index can be downloaded at www.ShotSpotter.com/ngi.   You can also follow SST and @ShotSpotter solutions on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube.
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Media Contact:  Liz Einbinder +1 (415) 577-8255 Email: LEinbinder@ShotSpotter.com

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