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120th Precinct will get gunfire tracking tech

January 20, 2016

CITY HALL -- The city is bringing gunshot detection to the North Shore.

The NYPD will expand use of the tracking technology, known as ShotSpotter, to Staten Island's 120th precinct with new funding in Mayor Bill de Blasio's preliminary budget plan to be released on Thursday.

The North Shore precinct will be part of 36 more square miles covered by the system, made possible with an additional $3 million in funding every year.

"ShotSpotter is providing a vital tool to the NYPD in taking on gun violence," de Blasio said in a statement. "This investment means all five boroughs will now see the crime fighting benefits of this innovative technology."

The expansion to six new precincts, as well as a wider range in existing areas, targets high-crime neighborhoods. The technology has already been deployed to 25 precincts in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan.

ShotSpotter will cover a total 60 square miles with the new funding, up from 24, and will cost $5.5 million a year, according to the mayor's office.

The system is meant to decrease officer response time to shootings.

Using sensors, the system triangulates the location of a gunshot within about 82 feet of where shots are fired. Notifications are forwarded to an incident review center where a trained operator reviews audio to determine if the sound was a gunshot or a similar-sounding incident, like fireworks or a car engine backfiring.

When a gunshot is confirmed, the NYPD receives an alert and is able to dispatch officers to the exact location of a shooting.

Last year the NYPD got 1,672 alerts in Brooklyn and the Bronx. The city said 74 percent didn't have 911 calls associated with them.

The NYPD recovered 32 guns and made 21 firearm arrests for shootings that triggered alerts in 2015. Police were also able to recover ballistic evidence with ShotSpotter activation in 22 percent of total cases last year.

The mayor's presentation of the preliminary plan for fiscal year 2017, which begins in July, kicks off budget season at City Hall.

Along with the ShotSpotter expansion, the preliminary budget also includes more park security across the five boroughs.

An additional $5.3 million in fiscal year 2017 and another $4.6 million will increase park security resources by about 30 percent, according to the mayor's office.

The new money will fund 67 more full-time parks enforcement patrol officer positions and 50 additional seasonal aides to work during peak times.

The new security investment is expected to benefit the borough of parks. The Parks Department will be able to deploy more mobile patrol units in vehicles, which is particularly important in more remote areas of Staten Island.

SI Live.com