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Sensor technology could pinpoint neighborhood gunfire

Concerned Columbia residents are looking for new ways to curb gun violence in the city. There is state-of-the-art technology that can detect and pinpoint gun shots through acoustic sensors called ShotSpotter.

Columbia residents heard from the ShotSpotter on Friday. Marcus Buford, who brought in a representative from the company, said its time to end the gun violence in several of Columbia’s neighborhoods.

“I’ve lost a few family members over the years in regards to gun violence, family members and friends. So, it’s kind of spurring my passion to want to try and make a difference,” said Buford.

The company representative said the technology uses acoustic sensors to pinpoint gunfire and can give police the location in 30 seconds. The technology can also differentiate between gunfire and another noise, such as a firework bang.

“What we try to do is create intelligent policing. So, with the information from ShotSpotter, a law enforcement agency is able to determine exactly when this occurs, what day, what time of day and place their officers in strategic areas in the city to able to be effective in their policing,” said Dale Cephers with ShotSpotter.

The technology would cost Columbia around $250,000 for three square miles for installation and then $167,000 per year for the service.

Parts of Kansas City and St. Louis have been using the service.

Fourth Ward council member Michael Trapp said ShotSpotter is a worthwhile technology but too expensive for Columbia at this point. He said as the price continues to drop, it’s something the city might consider in the future.

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