Police using sensors to detect location of gunfire
GG2 News | August 18 2005
IN A unique experiment, the Police Department of East Orange, in New Jersey, is placing high-tech acoustic sensors on every utility pole and lamp-post so that it can "hear" any gunshot fired in the city.
The $300,000 sophisticated system would also give, within three to five seconds, the location where the gun was fired and is expected to become operational within a week. One of the reasons being given by the police is the wariness of people to report when they hear gun shot and police says that it would give them a tool to fight the crime.
"We will be able to respond much faster to gun violence," police director Jose M Cordero said. "If we do not change, we are not going to win a war against crime."
The sensors have been used by the military, since 1996, to pin-point the location of snipers but have become available commercially only in the last year.
A leading American newspaper said it may conjure up Orwellian visions of Big Brother eavesdropping on street-corner conversations. But, Cordero said, that the sensors can pick up only "specific acoustic vibrations" associated with gunfire and can distinguish between gunshots and firecrackers.
East Orange is one of five cities around the country that have installed the technology. The police in Austin, Texas, tested the system but decided against installing it