'Electronic 911' can hear gunshots
- By Dibya Sarkar
- Dec 03, 2000
An experimental technology that can "hear" gunshots may be able to tell
urban police departments when and where gunshots are fired.
In development for several years, SECURES — System for the Effective
Control of Urban Environment Safety — involves battery-powered sensor units
installed on city light poles. If a gunshot is fired, the sensors pick up
the sound and record the time of the fired shot and a triangulated location
of the gunfire. A radio transmits the information to a police dispatcher.
Planning Systems Inc., a McLean, Va.-based company that specializes
in sensors, signal processing and acoustics, is planning to install a demonstration
system in a two-square-mile section of Austin, Texas, early next year, said
Alan Friedman, the company's president and chief executive officer. The
company won a $770,000 grant from the National Institute of Justice for
"This is an electronic 911 that provides for very accurate location
information," said Friedman, whose company is jointly sponsoring the Austin
project with the city's police department, the University of New Orleans
and the Center for Society, Law and Justice. The demonstration project will
last about a year.
Although Friedman said the technology looks promising, it might not
work in a real situation. He said the experiment will try to determine if
the system helps reduce crime and if it ultimately justifies the cost to
law enforcement agencies. He said the Austin project could provide a "fair
look" at the technology's future as a product or a service.