Updated: Wednesday, 02 Sep 2009, 8:43 AM EDT
Published : Wednesday, 02 Sep 2009, 7:35 AM EDT
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - The recent wave of violence in Springfield highlights the need
to take illegal firearms off the streets.
A new audio surveilance tool called "shot spotter" is helping the Springfield police crack down on the city's gun violence. 22News went to the Springfield Police Headquarters to find out exactly how this technology is making city streets safer.
Using the "shot spotter," Springfield police can pinpoint the location of a shooting within seconds of the gun discharging.
“They've put it through strategic areas in the city they did analysis of where they had large gun violence, and that's where they first implemented it,” Springfield Police Officer Shaun Sullivan said.
Sullivan told 22News the department started using shot spotter about a year ago. So far, they have seized more than 20 illegal firearms from city streets using the software.
“It provides forensic evidence,” Sullivan said. "Not only do we have a map saying the shots came from this location we have the audio of the shots.”
When shots were fired in the August 22, killing of 21 year-old Jerry Hughes in the parking lot of the State Street McDonalds, the technology enabled officers to quickly respond to the scene of the crime.
“I really do think this crime is getting worse. Anything they can do would welcome to not only this community but all communities,” Betty Richardson of Springfield said .
But the shot spotter technology is costly -- to cover a single square mile, it costs nearly $200,000.
Some Springfield residents told 22News that if the technology helps keep the guns off the street, then it is worth it.
“It's worth it if you can keep all the guns out of people who shoot other people for no reason,” Anthony Corcuran of Springfield said.
The shot spotter technology listens for "impulse sounds," and can identify if the gunman was moving at the time of discharge, as in the case of a drive by shooting, for example. Officer Sullivan said the software often picks up the sound of fireworks, which obviously have to be classified differently.
Also, the police are encouraging residents to continue to help out by calling 9-1-1 whenever hearing shots fired.