Engineering Meets Law Enforcement in Gunshot Location System

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If you’re looking for an engineering career in law enforcement, there are some great strides being made in gunshot location systems.

A new technology called ShotSpotter allows law enforcement officials to precisely and instantaneously locate shooters, no matter how concealed they may be. Already used in more than 60 cities across the country, ShotSpotter is making streets safer. The Youngstown Police Department recently posted warning signs—one at the Youngstown Elementary School—saying, “If You Fire a Gun, We Will Find You.”

ShotSpotter employs wide-area acoustic surveillance and GPS technology to triangulate gunshot’s precise location. Sensors on buildings and poles covering a wide fixed area are combined with advanced audio-analysis software to determine if a shooter is stationary or moving. This lets police officers determine the speed and direction of a car from which a shot was fired. The system can even identify a gunshot’s acoustic signature and distinguish between calibers, as well as a pistol or rifle shot. It can also ID explosions and separate out vehicle backfires, fireworks and bombs.

When a gunshot or explosion goes off, it only takes a few minutes for ShotSpotter to relay the location and other data to the police or a dispatch computer. This allows for a far more rapid response time for police and first responders. Some police agencies have reported ShotSpotter accuracies to within five feet. Teamed with surveillance video systems, Shot spotting could visually document the shooter--making it easier to identify a suspect and lead to faster arrests.

If you’re interested in applying your engineering skills to law enforcement, check out the career opportunities at ShotSpotter.

For an added perspective, check out this video:

Got any thoughts on engineering careers in crime prevention technology? Include your comments in the section below.

Alex A. Kecskes has written hundreds of published articles on health/fitness, "green" issues, TV/film entertainment, restaurant reviews and many other topics. As a former Andy/Belding/One Show ad agency copywriter, he also writes web content, ads, brochures, sales letters, mailers and scripts for national B2B and B2C clients. Please see more of his blogs and view additional job postings on Nexxt.


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