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Bridgeport Chief calls Shotspotter technology a “game-changer”

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BRIDGEPORT — Bridgeport Police have a new tool in the tool belt to help fight crime. The city announced the Shotspotter gunshot detection system is live.

Wednesday night, police — along with Shotspotter employees, will do a live fire test of the gunshot detection system. City officials aren’t saying where or when the test will occur but if you live in Bridgeport and hear gunshots Wednesday, you should still call 911.

“Oh my God, it’s a game changer,” said Bridgeport Police Chief AJ Perez. Bridgeport is fighting back against violent crime. Mayor Joe Ganim said, “We are joining some 90 other cities across the country.”

It cost more than $400,000 to bring Shotspotter to the streets. The initiative was funded partially through federal grants. The technology is essentially a network of listening posts that detects gunfire. “It is our next step in making Bridgeport and every neighborhood in this city, safer,” said Ganim.

It pins the location to a map and sends the audio to dispatch and field officers in an average of 45 seconds. The technology has improved over the years. “It would be able to specifically identify the difference between firecrackers, loud noises and gunshots,” said Steve Nelson, the Commissioner of the Bridgeport Housing Authority.

They technology can determine how many shots were fired and even the caliber of gun used. It’s crucial information for an officer on what they are about to encounter. “I think anything that is going to help a response time would be resourceful,” said Bridgeport resident Angela Cintron.

Simultaneously, cameras would be activated to spot suspects, see if there’s a victim, or grab a license plate. “Shotspotter, married with a camera system and then bringing in the predictive policing technology. It changes everything,” said Chief Perez.

Bridgeport says they’re also interested is possibly adding Shotspotter Missions. It’s a future add-on that uses historical crime data and predictive analysis to find crime before it happens, resulting in a more efficient use of resources.

“We spoke about that already. We’re on it. It’s something I want to bring to the city that’s never been brought here before,” said Chief Perez.

Bridgeport chose to utilize the technology after positive reviews from Hartford. They’ve been using Shotpotter since 2013. New Haven has used it since 2009. Perez said, “I have been speaking with Hartford. They have this. They’ve used it very successfully.”

Law enforcement told Fox 61 they are excited about the technology being able to get aid to gunshot victims faster and Shotspotter information can also be used in court to help prosecute violent criminals.

Bridgeport has recorded 10 homicides so far in 2018, down about 50% from last year.

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