City of Cleveland expands ShotSpotter technology to all five Neighborhood Police Districts
Gunshot detection provides real-time alerts, assists in faster and more accurate response
Tuesday, May 23, 2023 — Cleveland — Today, Mayor Justin M. Bibb, Chief Director of Public Safety Karrie D. Howard and Police Chief Wayne Drummond announced that the City of Cleveland has expanded ShotSpotter technology to all five Neighborhood Police Districts for the purposes of combating gun violence in our neighborhoods.
Studies show more than 80 percent of gunfire incidents are not reported to 9-1-1. ShotSpotter helps law enforcement to identify and locate incidents of outdoor gun violence that may have gone unreported to law enforcement. Alerts are sent within 60 seconds of gunshots, notifying officers precisely when and where gun incidents occur, allowing for a fast, location specific response that can save lives and preserve evidence.
“The results of Cleveland’s ShotSpotter pilot show that this technology is effective and is making a difference,” said Mayor Justin M. Bibb. “ShotSpotter is one of many tools we are incorporating in our fight against gun violence. We are focused on investing in technology and intelligence to reduce gun homicides in our city.”
The ShotSpotter gunshot detection technology uses a series of acoustic sensors deployed atop light posts and buildings. Upon recognizing gunfire, the sensors work instantly to triangulate the sound and pinpoint the location and number of shots fired. Expertly trained ShotSpotter acoustic professionals are available 24/7 to review and qualify all gunfire incidents before sending an alert.
By providing a more accurate location to a crime scene, the technology helps responding officers collect additional evidence, like shell casings, they may have otherwise not been able to find. This also helps detectives, who can use the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) to compare evidence from other crime scenes and uncover patterns.
“The ShotSpotter technology is an incredibly important element that is greatly improving the capabilities of police officers to act swiftly in the event of critical incidents,” said Cleveland Police Chief Wayne Drummond. “Data reflects that shootings are responded to faster, and lives are saved, which is by far the greatest benefit. Having this technology available in each of the five neighborhood police districts is extremely valuable.”
In 2020, the Cleveland Division of Police (CDP) launched a pilot program to use ShotSpotter technology on a three-year lease in Fourth District. Since then, the system has detected more than 10,000 incidents, including over 24,000 rounds fired. The technology was instrumental in saving 12 lives, as victims were provided immediate medical aid by both police officers and Emergency Medical Service. ShotSpotter has also helped law enforcement take 66 firearms off the streets of the City of Cleveland.
ShotSpotter has an extremely high accuracy rate. An August 2021 study that looked at the technology’s use in Pittsburgh showed that 96 percent of shots were located within 50 feet or less. An audit released two weeks ago by an independent data science firm in Washington D.C. confirmed that, citing an accuracy rate of over 97 percent.
ShotSpotter is utilized nationwide in over 150 municipalities and has been used in more than 200 court cases across 20 states. In Oakland, 101 gunshot wound victims were located and kept alive due to the technology. In 2022, the Albuquerque Police Department reported finding and coordinating EMS response for 179 gunshot wound victims in less than 11 months due to the technology’s alerts.
The ShotSpotter expansion is funded through a $2.76 million American Rescue Plan allocation. The administration also issued an RFP through the Department of Urban Analytics and is finalizing a contract with Cleveland State University’s Criminology Research Center (Crim Center) to independently evaluate ShotSpotter’s effectiveness as well as determine its impact on building community trust.
The City of Cleveland remains committed to the reduction of gun violence. CDP conducts violent crime reduction strategies on a regular basis, incorporating technologies including ShotSpotter, in order to target gun violence and ensure the most effective crime fighting deployment tactics.
Residents are encouraged to report illegal and suspicious activity to law enforcement. Call 9-1-1 in emergencies. Call 216-621-1234 in non-emergencies. Anonymous information can be provided by calling Crimestoppers at 216-25-CRIME or through the online anonymous tip form.