California Democrat Assemblyman, Eduardo Garcia, is trying to get ShotSpotter gunshot detection systems strategically placed through the state to prevent or reduce shootings. The ShotSpotter system uses a network of sound sensors that are built to detect gunfire and pinpoint the location of the gunfire using GPS coordinates, forwarding the findings to authorities.
The system is currently being utilized in Oakland, Sacramento, San Diego, and San Francisco but Garcia is calling for the expansion of these locations, especially in small cities that lack funds to pay for a police presence.
“ShotSpotter can curtail gun shooting incidents and it gives law enforcement precise information on where shootings occur so they can respond quickly,” Garcia said.
Garcia explains that his logic behind using this advanced system came on New Year’s Eve after he heard partygoers firing guns into the air when the clock struck midnight as he was about to go outside with his children.
“Before we knew it, some parts of our area started to sound like a war zone, with multiple shots going up,” he said. “I told them ’We’re not going outside.’ What goes up comes down.”
Garcia admits that the system performance does have flaws although it is designed to catch perpetrators in the act. In Newark, over a three year period gunshot detection sensors went off 3,632 times and only 17 shooters were arrested on scene. On paper, that equates to taxpayers paying $240,000 above and beyond normal police expenses in order to secure 17 crime scene arrests.