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City to test ShotSpotter in Beltzhoover


December 18, 2018

City of Pittsburgh police will conduct a live-fire test of the ShotSpotter gunshot detection service, which was recently expanded to an 18-square mile coverage area, on Dec. 18, at 7:30 p.m.

Tests will occur in: Bedford Dwellings, Beltzhoover, Hazelwood, Homewood, Marshall-Shadeland, Perry, West End and Upper Hill. The purpose of the test is to verify all systems are operating as expected and guide any final adjustments before activating the service. The ShotSpotter service is not considered live and operational until the successful completion of the live-fire test.

Police will be onsite at all test locations to ensure conditions for testing are safe. The controlled tests will consist of a sequence of gunshots fired at close range into a bullet trap. No bullets will be fired into the air and there is no danger to the public.

ShotSpotter uses a wide-area network of acoustic sensors to detect when a gun is fired, and then precisely and quickly pinpoints the location of the gunfire. In less than a minute, police officers and 911 dispatchers are notified of the fully-qualified and validated gunfire incidents, even if no one calls 911 – although the community is always encouraged to report sounds of gunfire.

By quickly notifying first responders of gunfire, ShotSpotter helps speed that response with precise information in order to save lives – much like a fire alarm. ShotSpotter is one of several cutting-edge technologies the City of Pittsburgh is employing to ensure the safety and security of our residents, visitors and surrounding communities.

“There are areas within the city that gunfire is so frequent and people don’t call 911,” Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich said. “With ShotSpotter we have that instant alert to the police officers. They show up. They find individuals who have been injured. They may render first aid right away until the medics arrive, and we have saved lives.”

“Sometimes you’ll get a call that there’s shots fired, but you don’t know where it’s at in that area,” Police Chief Scott Schubert said. “Now it’s more specific where it’s at, how many rounds are being fired and, tactically for the officer approaching the scene, it’s safer.”


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