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New Haven community activist has a message for his neighbors

February 04, 2017

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– Douglas Bethea’s son was shot and killed. He has a message for his neighbors.

“We’ve got to stop waiting for it to happen on our front door step and say I’m going to call the cops the time to do it is now,” said Bethea. “As a community we need to step up, too. If we know of something that’s going to happen just call.”

He said too many people don’t call police when they hear shots. New Haven police are concerned about the same thing.

“The residents are afraid of calling because sometimes the officers will knock and do a canvass on the door and they don’t want that,” said Lt. Herb Johnson with the New Haven Police Department.

shots New Haven community activist has a message for his neighborsThat’s where ShotSpotter technology comes in to play. It gives police an accurate location of gunfire.

“If you were to hear gunshots depending on where you are it could be echoed somewhere and you think it might be here, you think it might be there,” said Johnson.

Sensors placed throughout the city pick up the sound.

“It covers mostly the hill into Newhallville right down the line there,” said Johnson.

Within seconds officers are notified by Smartphone and dispatch.

“Too bad it wasn’t around when my son got shot. EMS and police officers could have got there faster,” said Bethea.

According to the New Haven Police Department in 2016 there were over 220 notifications of gunfire and possible gunfire. Police respond to every call.

The New Haven police gun range is within the ShotSpotter coverage area. Police are working on moving the range possibly by this summer.

The police department has recently expanded the coverage area from one and a half square miles to five square miles which is a quarter of the city.

“Sometimes we need a little bit of extra piece of technology to help us focus right where the evidence may be,” said Johnson.

Bethea said officers need help from the community, too.

“It’s one of two things. Either they are used to it or they don’t care,” said Bethea.

WTNH: New Haven