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New Technology Tracks Gunfire, Could Show Up In Pittsburgh

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(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Harold Hayes Harold Hayes
Harold Hayes joined KDKA-TV in August of 1979 as a general assignment...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – New technology aims to spot and follow gunfire – and it could be coming to some areas in Pittsburgh.

They are set on high points in areas so as to pick up the best acoustics.

“Obviously the sound from the shots being fired, it could be from any one of the buildings we’re around. Hold on there — check that out right there,” a YouTube video says.

The video is about a technology called Shotspotter. It’s in place in Minneapolis and 80 other cities.

But Rev. Ricky Burgess, who represents Homewood and other East End communities, lobbied his colleagues to put it in Pittsburgh police zone five for starters.

He showed them a video he produced describing all the places gun violence has affected his constituents.

“The last 14 days in Homewood alone there’s been 10 shootings – including a police officer,” he said. “Two police officers.”

And the people who developed the system explained how cameras would connect with an audio alert system.

“That information is automatically sent out to cameras that are on the edge, so that cameras can be cued up to slew over to where gunfire is occurring where the muzzle blast is,” said Jack Pontious with Shotspotter.

But not every councilman agreed with the idea. Patrick Dowd said the needs in zone five are manpower – not technology.

“It is a diversion,” Dowd said. “The real issue in zone five is we don’t have adequate resources.”

Council gave tentative approval for the new system Wednesday will make the final vote next week.

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