ShotSpotter System Goes Live in Homewood

Jan 20, 2015

It took less than one minute for officers from the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police to arrive on the scene after shots reportedly were fired off the porch of 7502 Hamilton Ave. in Homewood Saturday night.

“(ShotSpotter) was so accurate and so quick that the officers were able to engage the suspects and see them as they were firing the weapons and observe the muzzle flash that was a result of them firing the weapons,” said Major Crimes Cmdr. RaShall Brackney.

The ShotSpotter system is a series of audio sensors which work in tandem to locate where shots were fired, in what direction, how many were fired and even the caliber of the bullets.

Sensors have been installed in a three square mile area of Homewood, an economically depressed neighborhood with one of Pittsburgh’s highest crime rates. Police Zone 5, which serves Homewood as well as neighboring Larimer, Lincoln-Lemington-Belmar, East Liberty and a number of other East End communities, saw 27 homicides in 2014, more than twice that of any other zone.  

Brackney said tests of the system in December revealed that it was working as expected.

“The units were picking up the test-fired shots and … there was virtually no delay time between the shots and the responses from shot-spotter,” Brackney said.

However, she said they will continue to hone the system to bring it up to an optimal level of performance.

Brackney also said the successful implementation of the ShotSpotter system will inform additional public safety measures, such as the installation of more closed circuit television cameras in Homewood.

“We’re looking at placing the cameras where we’re most likely to have reported shots so that we’re able to capture images or potential evidence related to any crimes in the community,” Brackney said.

Brackney said no one was injured in the incident Saturday night. Several people were detained, and one adult and one juvenile were arrested.