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An update on the gunfire reporting technology

Last 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. An article from went further.

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.

Lots of folks write us about whether the sounds we hear are gunshots or fireworks. Gunfire reporting technology was proposed last year but, unfortunately, no vendor has been chosen by the RPD yet. We reached out to James Mercante, from the Richmond Police Department and it seems they are still on the discovery phase:

The Richmond Police Department and the city of Richmond are still in the process of selecting a vendor for the gunfire reporting technology. Once a vendor has been selected and the contract announced we’ll have a better understanding of the features/timeline of the project.

In the meantime, if you’re ever in doubt, check out this video by on how to differentiate between gunshots and fireworks:

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Katherine Jester

After 12 years up here I can tell the difference between a revolver, a semi automatic, a rifle and a shotgun, and feel after-the -fact reporting has limited usefulness. I’d rather see funds allocated to increased police patrols.


I would just point out that unpermitted fireworks appear to also be illegal in Richmond as well. I realize there’s the potential to persecute/send the police after otherwise well intentioned people who are just trying to have some fun… but we live in a neighborhood of closely spaced buildings, many of which are made of wood. Point is, if we’re not sure which we’re hearing, I think we should still call RPD anyway. Maybe that’s a little nasty, but my parents were insurance agents and we grew up hearing constant horror stories about how stupid people maimed or killed themselves… Read more »