KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Kansas City officials are hoping to expand a new gunshot-detection system that pinpoints the location of gunfire.
Police say the new ShotSpotter gunfire detection system that was implemented in October for a small area of the city has led to several arrests.
The system directs officers to within 25 meters of a shooter's location when a gun was fired. It also tells police how many shots were fired and how many weapons were used. The gunshot detection system also indicates whether shooters were in a vehicle or moving on foot, and even provides a speed and direction of travel.
U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II helped secure $720,000 in federal grant money, which will pay for the system for five years, in a partnership with transit officials, The Kansas City Star reported (http://bit.ly/18wbd1g).
Cleaver said at a recent news conference he planned to seek additional federal funds to expand the program. Police Chief Darryl Forte said he had already identified four areas of the city for possible expansion.
The system sends a message to criminals who have become accustomed to being able to shoot without repercussions when no one calls police, Cleaver said.
"There is a new system in town that is going to jeopardize your activities," he said.
Forte hasn't released the exact location of the system's sensors, but says it covers a 3.55-square-mile area involving high transit ridership. Forte said the system has detected 1,178 incidents of possible gunfire in seven months. Of those alerts, 977 were confirmed, and resulted in dispatchers sending police to a location.
He said that residents in those areas had gotten so used to gunfire they stopped reporting gunshots years ago.
"Now when they hear gunshots, we show up, and they realize, "Oh, they do care,"' Forte said. "It's going to help us with relationships. It's bigger than the numbers."
Aggravated assaults by firearms also dropped 24 percent in the coverage during the seven-month period compared to the same period the previous year, Forte said.