Shotspotter Blog

Mapping Gunfire Near DC Schools: Urban Institute Reports

Most people think of urban gunfire as a thing that happens at night, in the rough parts of town. We know differently.  Just released today, the Urban Institute analyzed and mapped gunfire findings of ShotSpotter data near DC schools, ( and, in the process, uncovered some startling statistics about daytime gunfire near schools.

ShotSpotter picked up 336 incidents of gunfire in DC during the school day, using its technology that detects the sound of gunfire and triangulates the location of each shot. Of the 175 schools open during that school year in the Washington DC area, 116 fell within the ShotSpotter coverage area. About 54 percent of gunshots occurred within 1,000 feet of a school.  The Urban Institute report noted that exposure to gunfire was concentrated near a few schools: about 9 percent of the schools experienced 48 percent of all gunfire.

“When people think about school violence, they think about mass shootings, which—as horrible as they are—are very rare events,” said Nancy La Vigne, director of the Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center. “All too often, the children who are exposed to gun violence on a day-to-day basis are overlooked.”

While we do not know how children are affected by repeatedly hearing gunfire, research has shown that children exposed to gun crimes, or who witness violence, can suffer from trauma and stress. We, as a society, as just beginning to research the downstream effects of gun violence on our youth and in our communities.

You can read the Urban Institute’s research brief here, Close-Range Gunfire around DC Schools and check out the interactive feature here:

September 05, 2014
By: Theresa A. Marcroft, Sr. VP, Marketing