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Police considering gunfire reporting technology for Mosby

The Richmond Police Department is considering shifting money from their body camera program towards installing technology that will automatically report and pinpoint gunfire in Mosby Court.

Ned Oliver and Ali Rocket have a great, longer piece this morning on

What a community should expect, he said, is that when gunfire happens, police show up. In most communities where this acoustic surveillance system is used, gunfire is not reported 80 to 90 percent of the time, Clark said.


The technology alone is not going to close a case, Clark said, but he hopes it will help the department build stronger ties in these underserved communities and increase their participation as witnesses.

“ShotSpotter can tell you precisely where the shot was fired, but not who. Only the community can do that,” he said.

IMAGE via ShotSpotter

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Brett Eastman 03/26/2017 at 7:34 AM

Holy fucking shit! Yes please! Unless you are at the scene it’s damn near impossible to tell police where shots originated if you’re a couple blocks off.

Carl Beers 03/26/2017 at 7:37 AM

Taking money away from body cameras with the hopes people will snitch? All I got from the little article.

John Murden Jr. 03/26/2017 at 7:48 AM

The piece goes into that in a way worth reading beyond the 1st sentence.

Interesting takeaway for me was how often gunfire generally goes unreported in high-incident areas.

John Murden Jr. 03/26/2017 at 7:48 AM

The piece goes into that in a way worth reading beyond the 1st sentence. Interesting takeaway for me was how often gunfire generally goes unreported in high-incident areas.

Brett Eastman 03/26/2017 at 7:49 AM

Like the body cams are ever on? Or footage used? I use a GoPro if I get pulled over. Can’t trust anyone but yourself. Hearing someone unload a handgun at 2pm has got to stop.

Tony Brown 03/26/2017 at 8:01 AM

They already have cameras on top of some of the apartment buildings. If that doesn’t work when you’re watching them then….

Katherine J 03/26/2017 at 8:02 AM

IDK, I think more patrols in the area would serve them better. Using this technology isn’t changing behavior and body cameras protect everyone (including the officer) whereas this doesn’t really protect anyone and only offers response after the fact. I’d be interested to hear the opinions of the actual cops on the street.

Rebecca Parker 03/26/2017 at 8:40 AM

I hear gunshots multiple times a week. I don’t call it in unless it seems very close, because otherwise I’m just calling to say, what, "I heard gunshots somewhere in a mile radius of my house?" That isn’t informative.

Steven Summerville 03/26/2017 at 8:46 AM

Do it. If we can establish a way to report crimes that doesn’t rely on bystanders, the "snitch" stigma can be circumvented. After seeing people in mosby react to that horrible shooting earlier this year with such heartbreak about it not being reported, this could help. People don’t want crime in their neighborhood but they also don’t want to run the risk of thrusting themselves into it by reporting it in person.

Dubois2 03/26/2017 at 8:57 AM

Given last year’s rise in crime, esp gun murders and shootings, I think crime has become the most important issue for Richmond in 2017. Still, I would prioritize bringing the number of officers up to 750, investing in some form of drug-treatment for first time drug offenders, mini-methadone clinics for the heroin-addicted, and a halt on new public housing construction city-wide over shot spotter, but imho, doing all of the above would be in the best interests of ALL of the city’s residents, career criminals aside.

Jesse English 03/26/2017 at 9:04 AM

Tear down the projects in Richmond. Disperse the populations that live there. Develop those sites as tax producing properties.

tony 03/26/2017 at 9:07 AM

can the system detect guns fired using silencers? they are on the legal horizon pushed by the NRA, some republicans, President 45 and his son.”It’s about safety — it’s about hearing protection,” Donald Trump Jr., told Utah silencer manufacturer SilencerCo. “It’s a health issue, frankly, for me.”

Laura Holloman 03/26/2017 at 10:01 AM

They are going to be super busy. You hear multiple guns shots everyday in that area.

Bryan Brodie 03/26/2017 at 10:16 AM

so, shift away from systems that potentially document RPD liability and towards systems that have positive media-feelgood effect.

I would be more impressed with the Stoney administration if they addressed this issue:

“Richmond City Council members urge Stoney administration to cooperate with financial audit”

otherwise it’s just smoke and mirrors and echoes. lots of spin and drang from a novice politician (Stoney) being manipulated behind the scenes by the RVA powers that be…

Michael Nesossis 03/26/2017 at 10:54 AM

Something. We have heard at least a dozen gun shots in the last week alone.

Michael Nesossis 03/26/2017 at 10:56 AM

I think we need some police foot traffic through the neighborhood. Not sure about the budget, but it MIGHT help having the extra police presence?

ray 03/26/2017 at 11:20 AM

The story says it will cost $235,000. I assume this is a one time purchase cost and does not include ongoing costs to operate the system.

That said, $235,000 would pay — and that’s for salary and all the benefits — for maybe 3 cops on a yearly basis, and that doesn’t even include the substantial funding it takes to train the new hires.

I don’t know if this gunfire firing technology is a worthwhile investment, but I do know that it’s going to take some serious funding in order to fund the 100 or so officer shortage RPD currently has.

John M 03/26/2017 at 11:51 AM

@ray there is some ongoing cost, there is mention of a yearly contract

Cadeho 03/26/2017 at 12:18 PM

Instead of this… cameras… cameras everywhere in and around projects. When you are in public, don’t expect it to be private. If you commit a crime, your face will be seen. That would work much better.

Dave Seibert 03/26/2017 at 4:16 PM

If this did help the cops get there really fast then it may eventually work as a deterrent.

J 03/26/2017 at 5:38 PM

We could always just remove the public housing and get more tax money to pay for schools rather than continuing to have murders happen every week next door.

Emily Klinedinst 03/26/2017 at 6:19 PM

Do other cities still have "beat cops" (foot patrol) or is that just on television ?

Liz O 03/26/2017 at 8:37 PM

The evidence that ShotSpotter has any effect on gun violence is (dare I say) shotty at best. The statistics the corporation sites on their website only pulls data from 2/3 of the cities where the system is installed. Independent research is nonexistent (ShotSpotter owns the data it collects in most cities).

That being said if we want to keep track of how many guns are going off in areas already know for gun violence then this is probably the best research tool. Just an expensive one. It also would get cops on the scene of gunfire faster- or on the scene of cars backfiring, dogs barking, and trashcan lids being slammed.

Clay Street 03/26/2017 at 8:41 PM

Came here to comment but tony @ #11 beat me to it. Silencers are going to be exceedingly easy to get very soon. Because hearing protection is important {or, cough cough, so says the gun lobby}

In light of that this new gunshot detection thing will stand to be pointless, unless I am misunderstanding something.

I’d rather the RPD invest in body cameras, personally.

Andrew Belet 03/26/2017 at 11:30 PM

So racist

Jennifer C. 03/27/2017 at 8:24 AM

All a “silencer” (suppressor) does is make it quieter, not *silent*. Plus they’re huge and difficult to hide. Do you really think the people who don’t care if they’re firing guns at 2pm are going to care enough to drop another $200+ on a suppressor?
I found this when I was poking around for info on the system – note the annual maintenance cost mentioned.

Brett 03/27/2017 at 9:33 AM

I doubt silencers will increase in use in this area. A few reasons being cost, extra bulkiness to conceal, and quite frankly nobody cares. I’m not speaking of serious gangbang murders. I’m speaking about the idiots that want to make a statement, or intimidate. “We run this shit”, type of thing. Firing to be heard. Bullets buzzing through the tree in your yard. Have any of you had yell “quit shooting your fucking gun” at a next door neighbor?

Michael Nesossis 03/27/2017 at 9:36 AM

Emily Klinedinst…good question.

Kathleen 03/27/2017 at 11:08 AM

Cops sitting in their cars with the engine running and the AC on do very little, if anything, to deter crime. They need to get out of the car and walk the street, and they don’t. We had a beat cop in Church Hill out of the 1st Precinct. Not sure if that’s still happening but he was walking the Libby Hill area, not an area where there was life or death crime happening.

J 03/27/2017 at 6:26 PM

Again like I previously said before. Mosby court has a gang problem. The formation of a local national affiliation with the bloods gang. Non stop senseless shootings. Why can’t the local news, media openly report these things like other cities (Baltimore, DC, NYC). It’s like the “gang” word in Virginia is some foreign language. Can anyone obtain a list of the many gangs currently operating in the city? The police chief talked about a coalition of gangs in the city but where is the in depth reporting on this?

An update on the gunfire reporting technology - Church Hill People's News | Richmond, Virginia 06/27/2018 at 6:00 AM

[…] year, the Richmond Police Department considered shifting money from their body camera program towards installing technology that will automatically report and pinpoint gunfire in Mosby Court. […]


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