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Gunshot detection system could soon be implemented in Mobile

By Tyler Fingert

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    MOBILE, Alabama (WALA) — It looks like a gunshot detection system could be on its way to Mobile as long as it passes one final hurdle.

A contract with ShotSpotter Inc. will be introduced at Tuesday’s Mobile City Council meeting.

If approved, the agreement would bring the service and technology to Mobile for at least three years. According to the City of Mobile, the cost would not exceed $640,000 during the initial term and the money for the program will come form the American Rescue Plan.

According to the agreement obtained by FOX10 News, ShotSpotter would be able to “detect and accurately locate to within 25 meters (about 82 feet) of the actual gunshot location 90% of unsuppressed, outdoor gunshots fired inside the contracted coverage area using standard, commercially available rounds greater than .25 caliber.”

The contract also says that “ShotSpotter real-time Incident Review Center (IRC) will review at least 90% of all gunfire incidents within 60 seconds.”

MPD hopes the technology can get officers dispatched to shootings faster.

In July 2021 FOX10 News talked with ShotSpotter about their technology and how it works.

“We deploy sensors, a network of sensors into the area and we basically triangulate on gunfire incidents,” said Phil Dailly from ShotSpotter at the time.

Dailly says their sensors can figure out where a shooting happened down to about 80 feet by calculating how long it takes the sound to reach their microphones.

The analysis takes seconds which means police can get notified before a 911 call.

“We have a saying that when it comes to shootings time is tissue meaning that the faster you can get the victim to medical care the better outcomes,” Dailly said.

Back in July, Public Safety Director Lawrence Battiste told FOX10 News that he was hopeful the City Council would see the value in it.

“After we’ve got an approval from the City Council the next step would be to determine where our most likely areas for us to have violent crime to occur,” he said.

Currently, ShotSpotter is in over 120 cities, including Birmingham and Montgomery.

Dailly says their technology has had a lot of success and one study found less than 20% of all shootings are reported and ShotSpotter fills the gap.

“We’ve seen reductions in homicides, in shootings,” he said. “For example, Greenville, North Carolina saw 29% reduction in gun violence in their first year.”

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