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Goldsboro Council votes to move forward with ShotSpotter

March 09, 2016

During the Goldsboro City Council's work session Monday night, the council unanimously approved giving Goldsboro Police Chief Mike West the green light to move forward with securing ShotSpotter technology for Goldsboro.

ShotSpotter technology uses sensors -- also called listening devices -- to triangulate the position of a gun when it is fired and reports it to officers within one minute, allowing for a rapid response from local police.

Implementing three square miles of the technology in Goldsboro -- the minimum coverage amount required by the company to begin using their service -- will cost $225,000 for the first year, and $195,000 for each subsequent year the technology is used, as it is a leased technology.

The council also discussed which areas of the city the technology should be placed in, using purposefully vague language as to not give away where they intend to place the technology.

"Roughly, it will come in just south of U.S. 70, maybe around Royall Avenue, maybe a little bit north of that, and it will come down as far south as almost reaching Stoney Creek Parkway, kind of in that general area," West said. "And then (it will go) out towards Highway 117 to the Grantham Street area, then east, probably almost not quite to Berkeley (Boulevard) and back up just beyond Herman Street. That area in general."

Preliminary considerations are being made for the precise locations of the 60 to 80 ShotSpotter sensors that will be placed throughout the city, and the council is seeking to encompass all high-crime areas of the city.

There was some back and forth between the members of the council about where the sensors should go, and whether or not to expand the coverage area from three square miles to four square miles to encompass areas such as Day Circle, Westhaven and Fairview housing communities.

Mayor Chuck Allen and several council members were adamant about ensuring the technology covered the Day Circle housing community, saying it would be a waste of money to install the technology and not include that community in the coverage area.

West said the preliminary coverage area encompassed Slocumb Street down to Harris Street, but not down to Day Circle.

After some discussion, the council agreed the technology absolutely must cover Day Circle, and is currently working to decide whether to adjust the three square mile coverage area or expand the coverage area to four square miles.

City Manager Scott Stevens said data was analyzed as to where shots fired calls were coming from in order to pick which areas would be best served by having the technology. According to the data, Day Circle was not one of those communities.

"There is a cost per square mile, but you can go bigger," Stevens said. "It (the coverage area) is not a square or circular shape, it is an amoeba shape that we've outlined. They (ShotSpotter) used the CAD (Computer Aided Design) data of shots fired calls from the past three years. The three square miles we're proposing picks up about 57 percent of all shots fired calls. They thought that was a really good number."

But, during a presentation to the Goldsboro City Council at the council retreat on February 24 and 25, Sales Director of the Southeast Region for ShotSpotter Phil Dailly pointed out to the council that many of the shots fired picked up by ShotSpotter came from areas where shots fired calls were not coming from prior to the technology being installed.

"That information is based on shots fired calls, people that called in," said District 4 council member Bevan Foster. "Probably with Day Circle, a lot of those shots fired aren't called in. So it doesn't mean that there's not more shots going on out there. I'm with the mayor on this -- that's an area I feel like needs to be covered more than others."

With the vote Monday night to move forward on securing ShotSpotter technology, the city has effectively allocated the money to install at least three square miles of ShotSpotter technology in Goldsboro in the coming months and agreed to enter into a contract with the ShotSpotter company.

In the coming council meeting, the council will discuss whether or not to adjust the shape of the coverage area or expand the coverage area to include more of the city.

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