Long Island cops are using an $800,000 acoustic gunshot tracking system that allows officers to almost immediately pinpoint the locations of shootings from a data center miles away. The so-called ShotSpotter system transmits the sound of gunfire using microphones and wireless sensors to a police computer and triangulates the scene of a shooting to within 80 feet — though police sources in the “the gun corridor” between Roosevelt and Uniondale in Nassau County say it is often more accurate than that, sometimes leading cops exactly to the spots where shell casings were found.
A private company created the system, which has been installed in 45 cities, universities and government facilities and pockets of Westchester County, Nassau County, New Jersey and New Haven. Though the system is designed to only register noises that "go bang" according to the Times, critics say that ShotSpotter and other gunshot tracking systems often force police to respond to "firecrackers, backfiring cars, nail guns, sounds from construction sites" and other loud noises (so it probably wouldn't work well in NYC), and it has had "an inconclusive effect on response time" and "little impact on arrest rates." But cops defend ShotStopper, stating it is just one tool in a multifaceted approach against illegal guns, and that it has lead to arrests and in at least one case brought officers to gunshot victim before anyone called 911.