By Lisa Washington

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – If Pittsburgh City Council approves the request, another crime-fighting tool will be expanding to help police across the city. The ShotSpotter notification system uses wireless technology that alerts police when shots have been fired in a particular area.

“It is a great tool for preventing gun violence and determining if there’s been a shooting,” said Pittsburgh City Councilman Ricky Burgess.

This past weekend, Pittsburgh police received a ShotSpotter notification when a teenager was shot in the city’s Lincoln-Lemington-Belmar neighborhood. Councilman Burgess is responsible for bringing ShotSpotter to Pittsburgh. It’s already being used in part of his district.

“It has been one of the most successful law enforcement technology enhancements and it has saved lives, both officers’ lives and civilian lives,” said Burgess.

The system works by sending an immediate alert to a police officer’s cell phone. The alert contains information about how many shots were fired, the caliber of the gun and the direction.

The Department of Public Safety is requesting that City Council approve an expansion of ShotSpotter, from 3 miles to 14.5, to include parts of the North and South Sides, Squirrel Hill, the Hill District and the East and West Ends of Pittsburgh.

The public safety director also wants to add more surveillance cameras across the city. Councilman Burgess says it’s possible the cameras could be linked to ShotSpotter.

“In the expansion, we hope to have both recording cameras and license plate recognition cameras linked to the ShotSpotter so if there’s a shot the cameras will pan to that area and pick up any activity,” Councilman Burgess said.

City Council is expected to vote on next year’s budget, in the coming weeks.

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