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SPD introduces gunfire detection system

SEATTLE — New technology is being introduced by the Seattle Police Department to help increase the fight against crime.

The police department has extra money in their budget and wants to invest in a gunfire detection system that will pinpoint shootings in four-tenths of a second.

According to police, the system would be used in places that are hotspots for crime in hopes of getting officers to the locations quickly before suspects and witnesses get away.

Crimes involving guns have risen this year in Seattle, and police believe the automated gunshot detection will be a solution.

Shot Spotter is one of many systems that are currently in the market.

The system works by putting a network of sensitive microphones in neighborhoods, then uses computers to pinpoint precisely where the gunfire is coming from.

“This is a way that we are going to be able to respond quicker and hopefully be able to solve cases quicker,” said Seattle Police Chief John Diaz.

Diaz wants 52 mobile detectors so that the system can be moved to hotspots. Then the system only needs four-tenths of a second to identify a gunshot, so it can narrow the location within a 50-foot radius and tell officers the caliber of the weapon.

KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Essex Porter spoke with citizens in downtown Seattle about the new systems.

“I think it’s a very good idea, after being shot myself,” said Paul Mason.

Mason told KIRO 7 that he won’t forget the gunshot wound he suffered before he moved to Seattle.

“I would love to know that they know where the sound came from, where they need to head out to apprehend the suspect,” Mason said.

Manilito Lewis was worried about the privacy of the detectors.

“Someone could be talking about sexual things of some nature or something that’s private like a family issue or something,” Lewis said.

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn is allocating a million dollars for gunfire detection in next year’s budget, which is part of a $15 million increase for the police department.

McGinn also said the money will come from savings in other places and from the additional revenues from the slowly recovering economy.