Commissioner of Police, Owen Ellington, says the police are looking at utilising ‘shot spotter’ technology to assist with investigating gun-related incidents and crimes.
“We have started discussions with the Minister of National Security (Peter Bunting) about the deployment of ‘shot spotter’ technology in some of our crime hotspots and in some of areas that are plagued by criminal gang violence,” Mr. Ellington said on April 2, at a press conference at his Old Hope Road offices in Kingston.
‘Shot spotter’ technology utilises audio and visual sensors to detect and convey the location of gunfire or other weapon fire. This information is sent to a digital map indicating the addresses and times of the incidents.
“We have looked at it in several places. It has a record of significantly reducing gun crimes and gunfire in the range of 40 to 60 per cent in some areas where it has been used. We believe that if this capability is built out in many of our crime-prone communities, it could immediately and significantly enhance public security,” the Commissioner argued, adding that the system could also make the operating environment safer for law enforcement officers.
He said the technology, which has the capability to determine the number of shots fired and the type of weapons used, also allows for easier detection of gunfire.
“What it does, in the first instance, is provide the police with real co-ordinates so that they can move swiftly in less time to the scene of a shooting, the advantage being that they could apprehend the suspects right after the shooting or if victims are shot…they could find them quickly and rush them off to hospital so that their lives can be preserved,” he said.
Mr. Ellington noted that, because the ‘shot spotter’ can enable the police to determine exactly where shootings took place, it can assist with clearing up cases of conflicting reports.
“There are many individuals that turn up at hospital (suffering from a gunshot wound) saying that they were walking home and just felt a burning sensation and they turn up at hospital and a lot of these persons actually shoot themselves playing with guns or they are shot by their own cronies, and it’s just a way of covering up their criminal activities,” he pointed out.
“So it actually enables the police to get to the truth about shooting incidents and it therefore enhances the response time, investigations, and it protects the officers when there are conflicting accounts,” he added.
Commissioner Ellington also informed that discussions are taking place for the build out of closed-circuit television (CCTV) systems in many crime hotspots and built-up areas.
The use of CCTV, he contended, will ensure the safety and security of the physical environment and enable the police to capture evidence of criminal activities on the streets to support effective criminal investigations.
“We also believe the build out of CCTV capability in some of these crime hot spots, will also serve as a measure of examining police conduct especially when they use force against citizens,” he said.
By Alecia Smith-Edwards, JIS Reporter