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ShotSpotter alert is helping Durham Police get to emergencies quicker

A new gunfire detection technology is helping Durham Police get to emergencies quicker.

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Monica Casey
, WRAL Durham reporter
DURHAM, N.C. — The integration of ShotSpotter technology in Durham has shortened police response time in the zone where spotters “listen” for the sound of gunfire and report it to police.

The City of Durham began using ShotSpotter in a three-square-mile zone earlier this year.

Data shows the average police response time from January through March was 6 minutes 38 seconds. For ShotSpotter calls, that average drops to 4 minutes 55 seconds.

The city goal is 5 minutes, 48 seconds, so ShotSpotter is helping the city meet that goal in the area where it is deployed.

"That's a very good thing," said Durham Police Chief Patrice Andrews.

She told City Council that is what they hoped for.

"We have seen a reduction in that time versus not having a ShotSpotter alert," said Andrews.

Rhenda Wilson, the owner of the Tea Bar Café, is in the ShotSpotter coverage area and supports the technology.

"I think my first reaction is, that's good if you are able to come out faster, that's good," said Wilson.

She says a faster response could make the technology worth it.

"I've heard other people suggest that they wish the money could be spent for prevention instead of it being responsive, but hopefully, we can do both," said Wilson. "If it's going to be a deterrent to gun violence, then I'm okay with it."

DPD is also tracking any harm associated with this technology, and data has shown that police are getting to incidents with Shotspotter alerts significantly faster. They have not received any complaints and have a survey they are distributing on door hangers to residents in the footprint.


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