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Shotspotter gunfire detection slated for Aldine

Shotspotter equipment pole mounted

“This Pilot program will support the Sheriff’s Office efforts to effectively respond to and investigate gunfire incidents” says Pct. 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia.

HARRIS COUNTY — Today Commissioners Court unanimously approved a ShotSpotter pilot program designed to identify, locate, and track active gunfire. The ShotSpotter system, used in several major cities, works by installing sensors- sensitive microphones — around an area to pick up sounds from the street that might be gunfire, and uses the sensors to locate where the shots were fired. This information will be sent to the Harris County Sheriff Office.

Commissioner Garcia is investing $780,000 dollars out of his budget to get this implemented in 5 square miles in Aldine where crime rates are 60% higher than the national average.[1]

“This is cutting edge technology I’ve been wanting to bring to our region since I was Director of the Mayor’s Anti-Gang Office under Mayor Lee Brown. The goal is to make our county, neighborhoods and officers safer. Rhetoric on crime has become a political pain point used to sell fear. Often, the loudest voices you hear would rather see themselves being tough on TV than do the hard work to make a difference. We choose a different path – using smart solutions to make a difference in keeping people safe. ShotSpotter is a step toward getting smart on gun violence. This investment in innovative technology will save lives and help officers do the job of getting danger off the streets. If successful, I hope to see ShotSpotter placed all over Harris County,” said Commissioner Adrian Garcia.

Commissioner Garcia applauds Sheriff Ed Gonzalez for becoming the first state agency to do this.

“Harris County Sheriff’s Office deputies have taken upwards of 3,000 pistols, shotguns, and rifles out of the hands of suspected criminals so far this year,” said Sheriff Ed Gonzalez. “We’re grateful to Commissioner Adrian Garcia and the entire Commissioners Court for this important new tool that takes the guesswork out of pinpointing the source of gunfire in our neighborhoods. I’m optimistic that this pilot program in the Aldine community will complement the peacekeeping, community-oriented initiatives that are already in place and ultimately save lives.”

The ShotSpotter gunshot detection, alert, and analysis system will provide what would be otherwise unobtainable, critical real-time gunfire intelligence. The core capabilities of the ShotSpotter system are:

• DETECT – ShotSpotter detects and locates gunfire incidents enabling a fast, precise response to over 90% of shooting incidents within the targeted areas. This has a powerful deterrent effect and disrupts the gun violence cycle.

• PROTECT – ShotSpotter helps to protect officers by providing them with comprehensive data on the actual amount of gunfire activity that occurs in the neighborhoods they patrol and provides critical situational awareness when responding to specific incidents.

• CONNECT – By applying community policing-oriented best practices, ShotSpotter provides a unique opportunity for law enforcement agencies to connect with vulnerable communities. Rapid response to gunfire incidents in communities that have been most impacted by gun violence builds positive attitudes towards law enforcement and leads to more constructive engagements and cooperation.

The goal is to have the system operational by April 2021. Other Harris County Commissioners expressed interest in also getting this implemented in their precincts.