Shotspotter Blog

Anticipating Celebratory Gunfire: Steps to Reduce it Start Now!

The dangers of celebratory gunfire are well known, yet there are certain times of the year that law enforcement agencies know there will be an increase in this type of activity.  Every agency experiences celebratory gunfire on July 4th and on New Year’s Eve/Day.  Some agencies experience celebratory gunfire associated with other holidays like Cinco de Mayo.  In order to reduce the amount of celebratory gunfire, SST offers a unique, proven strategy which requires analysis, planning and research.


SST’s strategy is simple and very effective. Used by many customer agencies, it has shown a dramatic decrease in the gunfire activity during the times in which celebratory gunfire happens.

Here’s how it works. Advance planning is critical for this strategy as it will take some time to fully deploy.  SST suggests the agency begin to put this plan into action at least one month prior to the expected celebratory gunfire. The example moving forward will be specifically for this coming New Year’s Eve/Day of 2014/15.

Step One: Do the research


Using the ShotSpotter Investigator Portal (IP), set your date range to – see above:
• Start 12/31/13 @ 0000 hours
• End 01/02/14 @ 0000 hours

This will capture all the activity on December 31, 2013 and January 1, 2014.

Leave the “Types” field set to the default gunfire events – see above.

The Search Results Tab will populate with the results of your search.  You can create a simple report or export the data to a spreadsheet program using the commands directly below the Search Results Tab.

Step Two: Disseminate the Results

Take your results and get them to the right personnel to get the word out.

1. Uniformed agency personnel should go to each address on the list and talk with the resident of each home on the list.

2. Explain that there was celebratory gunfire detected last year at the address. 

3. Remind residents of the dangers of celebratory gunfire. (Some people truly don’t know).  If your agency has experienced one of the tragedies, consider the use of that event as an example.

4. Remind residents of the criminal consequences of celebratory gunfire.  SST recommends a “no tolerance” policy on this activity and aggressive prosecution of the case.

5. Advise residents that your agency will be monitoring the celebratory gunfire this year and enforcing the “no tolerance” policy.

Additional Ideas

Some other possible strategies to consider include:

1. Correlate the gunfire data with known probation/parole houses, get the probation/parole officers involved.

2. Correlate the gunfire data with gang houses, get gang enforcement units involved.

3. Special Units or overtime cars should be assigned to the coverage area to respond to gunfire alerts quickly, thus getting the word out throughout the community.

4. Engaging the community and community leaders to be aware of the dangers of celebratory gunfire and encourage them to report.

5. Get the media to report about the dangers of celebratory gunfire and tell the viewers/readers that the agency will be taking an active role in using ShotSpotter to catch and prosecute offenders.

Click here to view a presentation: “Reviewing Celebratory Gunfire Reduction Strategies For NYE” by Ed Flossi.

Contact Customer Support
If you have any questions, SST Customer Support is available to all customers with valid ShotSpotter Flex Support contracts through:  Live Chat 24×7, telephone during business hours +1 (888) 274–6877, option 4. Or by email,

June 01, 2015
By: Ed Flosi, Sr. Director of Training & Customer Support