Police to pilot gunshot detection technology

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police will begin testing fire detection systems on the Middle East side of the city next month, the latest effort to combat the rise of violent crime in the Indiana capital.

Law enforcement officials say the technology, which identifies the location of the shooting and transmits information to police, will allow officers to better respond to incidents made by shots. The department began accepting information from potential suppliers earlier this month and plans to test the system within three months.

Successful technology, according to police, should be able to “recognize and identify specific types of shots” and locate shots with at least 90% success.

Those who will be selected to participate in the pilot will install detection systems in an area of ​​almost 5 square miles on the east side of the city. The pilot area covers Massachusetts Avenue and East 21st Street in the north; Emerson Avenue in the east, East Washington Street in the south; and Northeast Street in the west.

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Screenshot of what was called by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police "hot spots" for non-fatal homicides and executions in 2021.

According to Indianapolis police, the area was chosen for a pilot event because it is “the city’s most notorious robbery, shooting and non-fatal murder in 2021.”

The move comes after the deadliest years of Indianapolis in history. After 245 murders were recorded in 2020, in 2021 the city set a new record – 271 murders.

The eastern area, where gunshot technology will be used, has been particularly hard hit by violence. In 2021, a shooting in the area killed 24 people, according to an analysis of IndyStar killings. By mid-August, nearly 18% of the city’s non-fatal shootings had taken place in an area of ​​5 square miles, IMPD officials said in a statement declaring the shots.

The violence has forced some neighborhood residents to isolate themselves and participate less in the community, according to Middle East president Chris Stoab.

An example of an IMPD surveillance camera plans to install across the city this year.

Staab told IndyStar that he is looking forward to the pilot of shot detection technology in his area, where he said it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between fireworks and shots. Technology, he said, could increase police response time, which in turn could save lives.

“I can’t wait for that to happen,” Staab said of the technology installation. “If we could get rescuers to the scene faster, maybe we could reduce the homicide rate.”

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