The Community Foundation of New Jersey (CFNJ), on behalf of the city of Newark and the Newark Police Department, has awarded ShotSpotter a contract to deploy the company's wireless ShotSpotter Gunshot Location System in the city. The technology alerts law enforcement officials to the location of gunfire within seconds with pinpoint accuracy, helping to reduce gun violence. The system will cover a seven-square-mile area within the city of Newark providing real-time gunshot data including shooter location, number of shooters, whether the shooter was stationary or in motion, and the number of shots fired. Additionally, detailed incident and forensic data will be provided for use in arrests and prosecutions.
The system was completely funded through private donations raised by the CFNJ that approved and secured $1.2 million for the system.
The Newark Community Foundation, an affiliate of CFNJ has created the Community Eye in partnership with the non-profit Stop Shootin' in order to work with the Newark community and its various constituencies to impact gun violence in Newark.
The city is seeking to deploy the gunshot detection technology and 50 public safety surveillance cameras to cover a seven square mile area of the city in which approximately 80% of the gun violence has occurred over the past two and a half years.
The technology consists of a series of sensors that detect and pinpoint the source of gunfire near-instantaneously. These sensors then convey the information to police dispatchers and automated public safety cameras.
There are several benefits to this technology, which has been deployed successfully in cities including neighboring East Orange, NJ, and Washington DC. With the system police response is significantly faster as notification times are cut and information regarding the location of the shots is more accurate. This results in a greater likelihood of suspect apprehension, a greater deterrent to the use of firearms, and a reduced time to ambulance dispatch should a victim be present. The acoustic evidence can assist investigators in determining the number of shots fired at an event, the type of weapon used, and the circumstances surrounding the incident such as whether the shots were fired from a vehicle.
According to a description of the program on the Newark Commmunity Foundation's Web site, the gunshot detection system allows resources to be more effectively allocated as a clearer picture of shooting trends is available to police strategists.
The 50 cameras will be added to 32 already in place and 45 others already planned. These cameras act as a "force multiplier" by putting more police eyes on the street, improve officer safety by providing officers with situational awareness prior to arrival on a dangerous scene, improve prosecution outcomes by providing strong visual evidence and allow for more timely addition of other emergency personnel to an incident.