Chattanooga looks at ‘Shot Spotter’ technology for crime prevention


CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) – Several major cities across the country rely upon crime prevention technology called Shot Spotter. It’s radar detection that automatically detects gunfire and reports it to local police, and the city of Chattanooga is interested.

“We would be able to detect shots that are fired in the city,” Public Safety Coordinator Paul Smith said, “Elevation, location, to within a few feet.”

City officials got a first look at the crime prevention technology a few weeks ago.

Smith said Shot Spotter falls in line with the city’s Violence Reduction Initiative.

The sound detection devices can be placed on buildings or private property with permission.

“Even if the shots are in a moving car, be able to tell what direction they’re driving and how fast they’re driving and how many shots are being fired,” Smith said, “The technology doesn’t need to see the shot, it needs to hear it.”

Gun violence in Chattanooga dropped slightly within the past year.

So far in 2014, there have been 88 shootings in Chattanooga while last year at this time there were 95 shootings reported.

“Not all shots that are fired get reported,” Smith said, “These would all get reported within that square mile radius.”

But it’s still unknown how the city can pay for the new technology.

In May, Smith told Channel 3 the city was going through the process of reallocating $300,000 of grant money to use for the Violence Reduction Initiative.

Smith said it’s too early to tell if that grant money could go toward bringing the Shot Spotter to Chattanooga.

“That would be a conversation that we would have to have to look at the feasibility and again we haven’t had that discussion yet,” Smith said, “I don’t want to put the cart before the horse, that would be a discussion to have we just haven’t had it yet.”

Smith said there is no bid out yet to bring the shot spotter to Chattanooga, so he can’t say how much it would cost the city in the long run.

High Tech Crime Solutions