NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Newport News Police will soon have a new way to fight crime through some high-tech ears.
They are bringing technology to the city that hears gunfire and should help them respond faster to shooting scenes.
It’s called ShotSpotter, and uses acoustic sensors to record the exact time and location when it hears gunshots. Within 60 seconds, Newport News Police will get the information and be able to respond. Police Chief Steve Drew believes this will make a big impact when it comes to reducing crime in the city.
When shots are fired, only about 30% of people call police. That’s why the City of Newport News is investing in new technology called ShotSpotter.
“This is going to put officers in the right place in a quicker amount of time, in the right vicinity,” said Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew.
Here’s how it works: ShotSpotter sensors are placed across the city. When shots are fired, the sensor picks up the noise and alerts law enforcement to the location within 60 seconds.
Newport News Mayor McKinley Price believes the technology will reduce crime. He said, “It’s just a matter of hearing those shots and then locating where those shots are coming from. So once the bad guys know and the neighborhoods know that we have this technology, we hope to see fewer shots and therefore fewer shots or accidents or people getting shot, as well.”
The city entered into a three-year lease with ShotSpotter, which costs $275,000 per year.
Drew says the investment is worth it. “I think adding technology to the strategies that we already have in place is just going enhance, continue to reduce our crime numbers, continue to reduce our shootings, continue to reduce the homicides that we have in this city,” he said.
The chief also says the technology will help police respond faster, solve more crimes and ultimately help citizens feel safe.
“We’re sending a strong message to the citizens of Newport News that we care about them. We’re not going to tolerate violence in this city,” said Drew.
Newport News will be the first in Virginia to get this technology. They plan to install the sensors in this month.
They had something similar back in 2003, but the technology wasn’t quite there. Officials say this time around, they’re confident it will work.