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When will 120th Precinct get ShotSpotter, the gunfire-tracking tech?

November 01, 2016

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — While the North Shore leads the borough in shooting incidents this year, city officials couldn't provide a definite timeline as to when the NYPD's ShotSpotter technology will be coming to the 120th Precinct.

A spokesman for Mayor Bill de Blasio's office said "this spring."

An NYPD official told the Advance the "ShotSpotter technology will be in Staten Island in the near future."

Councilwoman Debi Rose (D-North Shore) hopes it's in place "as soon as possible."

In January, the mayor announced the St. George precinct was one of six precincts that was going to get the crime-fighting tool as part of his preliminary budget. The financial plan for fiscal year 2017, which began in July, ends in June 2017.

"I am certain that ShotSpotter technology will help rid our streets of guns," Rose said in a statement to the Advance. "I hope to have this innovative investment in place as soon as possible, and I am talking with NYPD about the proposed timeline."

According to NYPD's CompStat data, there were 31 shooting incidents on Staten Island through Oct. 9.

Queens and Staten Island are the only two boroughs currently without ShotSpotter.

While Staten Island waits, 15 citywide precincts (23rd, 24th, 25th, 26th, 28th, 30th, 32nd, 43rd, 70th, 71st, 75th, 77th, 79th, 81st and 88th) received the technology in 2016, including Brooklyn's infamous 75th Precinct, police said.

None of those commands were part of de Blasio's budget, which also included Brooklyn's 60th Precinct, the 47th in the Bronx and the 100th, 101st and 105th Precincts in Queens.

Prior to this year, the tool was deployed in 25 precincts -- eight in the Bronx, 10 in Brooklyn and seven in Manhattan – and covers a total of 24 square miles. With the expansion, it will cover 60 square miles.

ShotSpotter is meant to decrease officer response time to shootings. Using sensors, the system triangulates the location of a gunshot within about 82 feet of where shots are fired. Notifications are forwarded to an incident review center where a trained operator reviews audio to determine if the sound was a gunshot or a similar-sounding incident, like fireworks or a car engine backfiring.

When a gunshot is confirmed, the NYPD receives an alert and is able to dispatch officers to the exact location of a shooting.

Last year the NYPD got 1,672 alerts in Brooklyn and the Bronx. The city said 74 percent didn't have 911 calls associated with them.

The NYPD recovered 32 guns and made 21 firearm arrests for shootings that triggered alerts in 2015. Police were also able to recover ballistic evidence with ShotSpotter activation in 22 percent of total cases last year.


Screen Shot 2016-10-27 at 10.35.58 AM.pngShooting incidents by Patrol Borough. (NYPD)Mira Wassef | mwassef@siadvance.com

The North Shore's 120th Precinct has seen 20 of the borough's 31 shootings this year, according to NYPD CompStat data through Oct. 23.

The command also saw the most shootings of the four borough precincts last year. In 2015, there were 35 shooting incidents on Staten Island through the same time period, and 20 of those were from the 120.

Citywide, the 75th, 81st and 32nd Precincts were among the highest commands with shooting incidents in 2016, and received the technology this year, according to police and CompStat data through Oct. 23.

"Shotspotter is a highly effective crime-fighting tool that helps law enforcement respond to shootings quicker and investigate them more precisely than ever before," said Austin Finan, the mayor's spokesman, in a statement to the Advance.