Gunshots In New York? It’s Being Watched (Or Heard).

Mayor Bill de Blasio announces the NYPD use of ShotSpotter. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Mayor Bill de Blasio announces the NYPD use of ShotSpotter. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

New York City is the latest city to implement gunshot detection system ShotSpotter, on a trial basis in five zones in the Bronx and Brooklyn. Gothamist reports that “all ShotSpotter data is owned by the NYPD, and the one-year trial of the system will cost $1.5 million.”

Boston, Milwaukee and Miami are among the cities already contracted to use ShotSpotter. Washington, D.C.’s system reportedly captured 39,000 shots in its first eight years of use, according to The Washington Post.

“It’s going to send a message to our communities that if you fire a weapon, the police are going to know immediately,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio last March at One Police Plaza.



Programs like ShotSpotter are the latest in a movement toward tech-minded policing — that carries the potential to ease tensions with law enforcement, or agitate them.

While ShotSpotter’s site notes the tech “is designed to trigger on loud explosive or impulsive sounds,” there are also the natural privacy worries in a world with ideas like converting pay phones into listening devices that could curate data on noise pollution — or, like ShotSpotter, be of use to police.


This article originally appeared in NextCity.

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