“It will enable us to respond to shooting incidents in a more timely manner, and provide us with the ability to help victims, solve crimes and apprehend dangerous suspects more quickly,” Bratton said in a statement Monday.
Bratton was on the board of ShotSpotter, which is based in California, until he was hired for the New York City job. De Blasio had said during his mayoral campaign in 2013 that he wanted to use technologies like ShotSpotter, and Bratton told the New York Times after he was appointed that he and de Blasio “never had a conversation about ShotSpotter.”
There will be about 300 sensors active in the two boroughs as part of the pilot program. This program will cover about 15 square miles, accounting at the outset for a small fraction of the city’s 302-square-mile span. Last year, the police said they were seeking a two-year contract for a “demonstration project,” and if it were successful, the system would be expanded over a larger area, according to a notice submitted to the City Record. If the program is viewed as a success, it could also help shed light on the true number of shootings that take place in the city.
So far this year, there have been more than 160 shooting incidents in New York City, up 21 percent from the same period last year, according to the police department. But these numbers are inevitably incomplete, as there are gunshots that are simply not reported to authorities.
In Washington, for example, the number of gunshots found by SpotShotter was greater than the number of officially reported felony gun crimes by a margin of more than 2 to 1. Systems like ShotSpotter can also pick up the other noises that commonly populate cities, like fireworks, though its sensors are intended to ignore these other sounds.