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Could ShotSpotter help stop celebratory gunfire?

5:40 PM, Jul 6, 2012   |    comments
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A scar across Diego Duran's head marks where doctors operated on him after he was struck by a stray bullet (photo courtesy the Duran family)

St. Petersburg, Florida -- Since the beginning of this year at least four people in the Tampa Bay area have been hit by falling bullets, including two people watching fireworks on the Fourth of July.

The manufacturer of ShotSpotter says their technology can be used to pinpoint where guns are fired and potentially could have helped authorities find the people responsible for this week's celebratory gunfire.

"Our sensors will... detect loud sound such as gunfire, explosions, loud booms, bangs and they triangulate that sound to give a precise location including a street address," SST Vice President Lydia Barrett told 10 News on Friday.

Barratt says acoustic sensors are used to pinpoint where a gun is fired and she says the company typically uses 15 to 20 such sensors per square mile.

The company says about 80 municipalities in the country currently use ShotSpotter, including Riviera Beach in Florida.

A spokesperson for the St. Petersburg Police Department says they once considered using ShotSpotter but said they declined because of cost and because the system alone could not determine who fired a gun.

Barret says ShotSpotter costs between $40 and $60,000 per square mile. She notes once the sensors picks up a gunshot, it takes about 20-to-30-seconds to relay that information to a patrol officer.

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