Behind The Badge: A Look At How Shot Spotter Will Reduce Violent Crime In Rockord

Rockford's Police Chief says reports of gunfire will increase.

ROCKFORD - Shootings are an all too common scene in Rockford. Police often investigating reports of gunfire while searching for crucial evidence.

"If you're committing violent crimes in the City of Rockford, we're coming for you," said Rockford Police Chief Dan O'Shea.   
Now Rockford Police will get help from a gunshot detection system, 'Shot Spotter.' It alerts officers moments after gunfire erupts, including the location to where officers should respond.

"We'll know a much more precise location and won't spend as much time and we will be able to locate the evidence a lot more quickly like casing that are left behind. That helps us on the back ends of investigations."   

But it comes at a cost nearing $310,000. As it stands now, the east and westside of Rockford will each get their own system with a range of four square miles in areas where officers have seen a trend in violent crimes.

"They will put them up where they can put sensors on public property. If there is any private property, then they have to get agreements with that particular business, or individual. They will have to go into an agreement with them on putting up a sensor."

Chief O'Shea say 'Shot Spotter' has reliable technology, giving officers more control and information when responding to shooting scenes.

"Officers drive right through the shooting zone and they don't even know. Did they drive over the casings? Did they drive right by someone who was shot sitting in a car? They are not looking yet because they think they are going over here for a shooting and they don't even know it was right where they came from."

Shotspotter's Systems cover 480 square miles in 90 U.S. cities including Milwaukee, WI and South Bend, IN. In both cities, the number of gunfire incidents spiked since some shootings are never reported. O'Shea says Rockford will be no different as he expects an 80 percent increase in shots fired calls, but hopes residents will still call when they hear gunfire.

"People just don't call all the time and you can't call all the time. Some people just don't hear them, or they just don't want to be involved, or they are scared to be involved, so I know we'll get results and I'm postive we'll have an increase in shot fired calls."    

The installation process is expected to last several months.

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