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Brockton Police to test new ShotSpotter system with simulated gunfire Tuesday

September 15, 2015



BROCKTON, Mass. —Brockton residents can expect to hear gunfire ringing out on the city’s streets Tuesday night, but this time the gunshots will be fired in an effort to help make the city safer rather than to commit a crime, the Enterprise reported.

On Monday, the Brockton Police Department sent an automated telephone message to residents letting them know that the police will be setting off simulated gunfire between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. in different areas around the city Tuesday. The simulated gunshots will serve as a test for the city’s recently upgraded ShotSpotter program, which is used to track gunfire in Brockton.

In May, the City Council voted to appropriate $200,000 of the $400,000 necessary to pay for the first of two years of the expanded program. The money came from an unemployment compensation budget line.

As part of the expansion, the system’s range was increased from 1 square mile to 5 square miles, and improvements in technology will allow officers to be alerted about gunshots within 30 seconds on their laptops and cell phones.

Each square mile includes 15 to 18 audio sensors. When they pick up the sound of gunfire, the audio is sent in milliseconds over the Internet to a review center in California, where ShotSpotter staff analyze it and return the information to local police departments within 30 seconds.

The system pinpoints the street address and coordinates of where the gunshot originated and, if multiple shots from multiple weapons are fired, it relays the sequence in which they were fired, according to the company. In the case of a drive-by shooting, it can tell the position, speed and direction of travel of the shooter.

The data is encrypted and backed up on ShotSpotter servers. It is not sold to or shared with anyone except the municipal client.

Other ShotSpotter clients include Springfield, Mass.; Washington, D.C.; and New York City.

WCVB