ShotSpotter cuts Canton shooting response time

Posted at 5:25 PM, Dec 01, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-01 17:25:27-05

Canton Police were dispatched to the scene of a shooting Sunday night nearly two minutes before the first 911 call was received, thanks to a audible surveillance system known as ShotSpotter that was installed in 2013. 

Police said Robert Malone, 29, was critically wounded in an alleged robbery gone awry on Sunday evening at his home on 906 15th St. NE. 

Lt. John Gabbard showed the gunshot audio files collected instantaneously by a network of nearby sensors from that night.

A digital map also produced an estimation of where the shots were fired. The spot ended up being feet from where 9 mm shell casings were recovered. 

According to police records, the information from ShotSpotter came in nearly 2 minutes before the first 911 call. 

“By that time we were able to dispatch a car within 12 seconds and we had people on the way,” Gabbard said. 

Malone was transported to Mercy Medical Center and then taken by emergency helicopter to MetroHealth Medical Center, where he remained in critical condition as of Tuesday afternoon. 

A neighbor on the scene told that he had no intention of calling police because “it didn’t involve him.”

Gabbard said the Canton Police Department is still encouraging residents to call police, but ShotSpotters have helped reduce calls for shots fired since 2013. 

The ShotSpotters were first put to use in April of 2013. They’re installed at undisclosed locations within a three-mile area in Canton that includes the neighborhood where Sunday’s shooting took place. 

According to ShotSpotter system data, the number of activations in 2014 through the end of November was 393. This year there have been 266 activations.

At the same time, calls for shots fired are down 26 percent, according to Gabbard. 

“It’s not only bringing us to the scene more quickly but we’re using it in a way that we can look at information over a long period of time to find where our shots are fired, what time our shots are fired that put our officers in the right place,” he said. 

Gabbard says evidence collection is four times greater than it was before the system was installed. 

He said the technology is worth the hefty price tag. The service covers 3 square miles for 3 years and it costs about $320,000. 


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