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Gunfire Detection System Aims To Reduce Violent Crime In Detroit

September 23, 2015

DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Several Detroit community groups plan to use information collected from a gunfire detection system as part of an effort to help reduce gun violence on the city’s northeast side.

Detroit last year started using the ShotSpotter system to help officers pinpoint where shots are being fired, and Councilman Scott Benson says Operation Shot Spotter” will build on that effort.

Three days after shots are detected, plans call for volunteers to knock on doors in the area and let residents know that shots were heard. They’ll build community awareness and distribute information about social service providers. The waiting time, Benson’s office says, is to allow a “cooling off period.”

The system was tested near the Harper Woods border and Benson wants to expand the program to other parts of the city.

“My staff has been there on some of these knocks with some of our community partners,” he said. “And people are very pleased just to know that someone cares, to get the information, and say, ‘You know what? Thank you, we did hear gunshots the other day. We appreciate knowing that somebody’s out there.'”

Benson explained he got the idea during a trip to London, England, where a friend was burgled and a social worker was sent out to his home.

“So, in addition to the typical law enforcement, they actually had a social and humanitarian component,” Benson told WWJ’s Sandra McNeill. “They understood this could be a traumatic experience…When you’re hearing gunshots there’s a certain level of unease and trauma associated with that.”

Those involved in the volunteer effort plan to coordinate their work with the Detroit Police Department to ensure they’re not in danger.

CBS Detroit