City announces new gunfire detection system installed in Hilltop

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A new gunfire detection system introduced for Columbus has gone live in the Hilltop neighborhood, the city announced Thursday.

The system installed by ShotSpotter uses a microphone to listen for and record gunfire in the area and sends location information to police cruisers in the neighborhood.

Police hope the system will help law enforcement respond more quickly to incidents, administer aid to victims earlier and more.

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"The key is to get there quickly enough to render any aid to any victims we may have, certainly apprehend perpetrators and lastly, try to find the evidence so we can solve that particular crime," said Deputy Chief Richard Bash, who demonstrated the technology to media Tuesday.

The program can detect gunshots and the location of the shot. The specifics of the information is first sent to a lab in California to make sure the sounds aren't fireworks or car backfires, then a notification is sent to Columbus police. It all happens within 60 seconds.

Bash encouraged residents to continue to call 911 to report gunfire.

“We need the community to remain engaged. Part of the investigation of gunfire includes talking to residents," he said.

The program is set to come to Linden and south Columbus next.