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Gunfire sensor could help make Syracuse police more efficient, successful

Ellen Abbott
WRVO News File Photo
Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler

The city of Syracuse is adding some new technology to it’s arsenal that it hopes will help reduce crime.

The first piece of technology is called ShotSpotter. It's a series of sensors that tell police the exact location of gunshot activity. Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler calls it a force multiplier, which means it allows the departments resources to be used more efficiently. Officers can get to shootings quicker, spend less time looking for a weapon and more time finding a perpetrator.

"We’re going to capture the people who are firing off the shots and we’re going to make more arrests as in relation to shots fired in our community," Fowler said. "And I’m hoping that serves as a deterrent.” 

More than 90 cities use the technology and statistics show these localities have seen gun violence drop 35 percent in the first two years of deployment. The technology will be installed later this year over a 3 square mile area, still to be determined.

"The city of Syracuse is a data driven police department, a data driven city, mind you, and we’re going to use data to determine where those sensors go," Fowler said. "We’ll use a shots fired density map overlay and that will determine where it will go.” 

Fowler says it will complement the 140 cameras spread out across the city used to spot crime. The city also won a grant to purchase 15 body cameras for officers, which will be used in a pilot program that will begin later this year. 

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.