Shotspotter Blog

CNN Report Significantly UnderReports Gun Crime

At ShotSpotter, we think about gunfire all day, every day.

On December 1, CNN released its report, “GunsProject,”, which took a look at guns in America:  “the lives they save, the lives they take and the lives they define”. We applaud CNN for tackling an issue so critical to our society, and for taking such a broad approach. Projects like these help elevate this very important topic to a mainstream conversation. 

At ShotSpotter, we are keenly aware of the issues and problems associated with gun violence in America.  We monitor gunfire incidents 24/7 in more than 85 cities, in the U.S. and across the globe. We have the largest comprehensive database of gunfire incident statistics, as our data are comprised of actual confirmed gunfire incidents in the communities where ShotSpotter Flex is deployed.   

“One Day of Gun Violence” is CNN’s attempt to track every shooting incident in a 24-hour period, on one specific day, July 12, 2014.  While CNN's data appears to be limited to homicides and gunshot wounds, we understand that gun crime is much bigger than that and it can be significantly under-reported.  To that end, we’d like to share our findings for the same day, from our vantage point.

Our ShotSpotter statistics and analysis showed that there were 171 gunfire incidents in ShotSpotter-monitored areas — whereas CNN reported only 83 incidents in the entire United States — during that 24 hour period in July.  For those 171 gunfire incidents, there were a total of 575 rounds fired (3.3 rounds per incident), with one city experiencing an alarming 40 gunfire incidents that day. One incident from that day with an extreme number of rounds can be heard here.  That audio snippet was captured by three ShotSpotter sensors, the closest was 304 feet away, the farthest was a half mile away from the location of the gunfire.

While CNN reported on gunfire across the whole country, as much as they could ascertain from a variety of sources, we look at ShotSpotter-detected gunfire in a small number of cities where we are deployed — “small” in relation to the ~ 2000 cities that, in our view, experience a notable level of gun crime.  We found gunfire incidents to be more than 2x the CNN-reported numbers. 

To be fair to our readers, we want to make sure that gunfire incidents are reported accurately when published and to point out that gun crime is an even more significant problem in America than indicated in the CNN story statistics. We at ShotSpotter are working every day with law enforcement and their communities to help reduce and prevent gun crime, keep our law enforcement officers safe while they ensure the safety of our communities nationwide. If you’re interested in helping prevent gun violence in your community, be sure to read the ShotSpotter community involvement page here to find out how you can help. 

We look forward to releasing our comprehensive 2014 National Gunfire Index numbers in the first quarter of 2015. Please stay tuned for more gunfire incident information from SST, Inc.

December 04, 2014
By: Theresa A. Marcroft, SR. VP, Marketing