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Safer Smart Cities – crime and counter terror solutions in perspective

November 23, 2016

Safer Smart Cities - crime and counter terror solutions in perspective

Gunshot detection

Moving on to another smart city trend making some noise, there is a real buzz around sound analysis for security and public safety at the moment. The volume of security-related applications where sound is playing a role is certainly on the rise, whether that be on the biometrics front in the form of voice recognition to allow someone to securely access their bank account; in smart homes to detect breaking glass or to identify and locate gunshots in an urban area.

US vendor SST Inc. – a leader in gunfire detection and location technology – has developed its ShotSpotter technology. One version of this, ShotSpotter Flex is helping law enforcement agencies in America by directing police to the precise location of illegal gunfire incidents. The company says that ShotSpotter Flex operates through multiple ‘collaborative’ acoustic sensors that activate when gunfire occurs outdoors. The sensors and software triangulate and pinpoint the precise location of each round fired in a matter of seconds. SST has an Incident Review Centre (IRC) where an acoustic expert analyses the data and qualifies the incident before an alert is issued.

On the subject of what ShotSpotter offers, in the context of on-the-ground policing, when SST launched the ShotSpotter National Gunfire Index for 2015 – a statistical analysis of US cities where ShotSpotter is active – Atlantic City Police Chief, Henry White said: “With ShotSpotter technology, our officers now respond faster to the scene and have been able to find victims and evidence quickly. ShotSpotter is also an important tool that helps with improved community action and engagement, and all of this has helped us to achieve a 35.4 per cent decrease in gunfire violence from 2014 to 2015.”
Safer Smart Cities - crime and counter terror solutions in perspective

ShotSpotter Gunfire Incident Portal
Cape Town selects ShotSpotter to help reduce gun violence

Demonstrating the global potential for deployment, at the end of September, it was announced by SST that Cape Town, South Africa – rated among the world’s most violent cities – has selected ShotSpotter as a pivotal part of its crime prevention efforts to reduce gun violence and murders. The maker of ShotSpotter Flex, is working with Cape Town’s Department of Safety and Security to deploy the technology over seven square kilometres (more than 4 square miles) in the high-crime areas of Manenberg and Hanover Park.

Cape Town, a port city and the capital of the Western Cape Province, has a high concentration of gang and gun violence in the seven square kilometres where ShotSpotter is being deployed. “For the month of September, a total of 31 incidents were recorded, down from 128 in August and 211 in July, when ShotSpotter was activated. Although we would need to analyse shooting patterns over a longer period to accurately quantify the impact, the initial success of the technology has been stunning,” says Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith. “Not only does the technology empower the police force, but also seems to give the community renewed impetus in the fight against gangsterism. During the pilot project, we saw an increasing willingness from the community to come forward with tip-offs that resulted in arrests and the confiscation of drugs and weapons. Between October 2014 and mid-November when the pilot period ended, Metro Police made nearly 30 arrests in Hanover Park, including five for the possession of illegal firearms.”

“We are proud to partner with Cape Town to help crack down on gun violence and make this beautiful city safer and more secure for its residents,” says Ralph A. Clark, President and CEO of SST/ShotSpotter.
Safer Smart Cities - crime and counter terror solutions in perspective

Security News Desk: Cape Town