New technology will help Fort Myers police detect gunfire and track shooters in some of the city’s most dangerous areas after the city council voted unanimously to install the state of the art sensors on Monday.
The cutting-edge technology is operated by a company called ShotSpotter and it utilizes a network of a 360-degree acoustic sensors to detect gunshots and use the sound detection from multiple locations to triangulate the location of the shooter within a distance of 25 meters. The system would immediately alert law enforcement even if no one calls 911 and detect the exact number of rounds as well as the time at which each individual round is fired.
It typically takes 15 to 20 sensors in order to cover one square mile effectively. The new system will be covering a four square mile radius in which, according to Phil Daily, a representative for ShotSpotter, a large amount of the city’s gun crime takes place.
“That four square mile area represents nearly 60 percent of your shootings and about 48 percent of the homicides, so it would have a significant impact on gun violence,” Daily said.
Daily also told the council that the technology is already also being used in both Miami-Dade and Hillsborough Counties as well as Jacksonville.
Fort Myers City Manager Saeed Kazemi said local law enforcement needed the new system because residents in the area were hesitant to come forward and report gunfire in their community.
“We need to know where the shots are coming from,” said Kazemi. “We are working hard on the homicides, but we need to know where these shots are coming from. Unfortunately, we are not getting a response from the residents to call us and tell us where it is.”
The council voted to approve the initial cost of $94,000 to begin installation of the ShotSpotter network. Kazemi said that price reflects a $40,000 discount that the company provided to the city, so it could have the technology in place and ready to use starting in October. The city would enter a three-year agreement for the service which is estimated to cost a total of $874,000.
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