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Flint bringing back ShotSpotter to detect gunfire in the city

Published: Sep. 7, 2021 at 6:37 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - Flint Police are investigating the shooting death of a 58-year-old man. His body was found just before noon Monday on Carton Street, located on the City’s north side.

That murder is the 45th in Flint this year, up from 32 at this time last year.

Flint’s Police Chief has long said his department expected an uptick in violent crime this year. It’s their data that’s guiding proactive decisions.

To collect that data, Chief Green said he’s working to purchase new technology. ShotSpotter is on his list. It’s a tool the Flint community may recognize because it was in use a decade ago.

“It will actually pinpoint a location, specific location, where gunshots are being fired. Even to the point where it puts us within 25 yards of a location, which is humongous,” Chief Green said.

Any time shots are fired in the City, he explained ShotSpotter will send an alert to his Department, letting them know where the trigger was pulled.

“Right now, how it’s done, you just a general broadcast you got shots fired in the area,” Green said.

That mile range provided doesn’t only impact tracking down the shooter, sometimes, it’s difficult to confirm a shooting actually happened in the area.

“If we, we procure that type of technology, that’s just gonna make us - improve us - even in our response to crime and prevent crime,” Green said.

The Department’s benched the idea before because the technology has a high price tag. So what’s changed? Chief Green said they found an inexpensive and newer version. A conversation with the vendor is ongoing.

But that’s not all they’re working on, according to the Chief. An ABC12 crew spotted someone installing surveillance cameras along City streets. Chief Green wouldn’t comment on the photos taken, but said the police department has installed cameras throughout the city. They’re each connected to the Intel Center.

“It allows us to be proactive in our response to crime,” the Chief said. “So that’s their biggest asset is the, you know, the data collection, analysis of that data, our response and predictive analysis to help us be proactive and prevent future shootings.”

We know technology can’t replace actual boots on the ground. And Chief Green said the Department’s biggest challenge is still staffing. Five cadets just reported to the police academy this week. He said 10 officers from other departments have joined his force within the last year, too.

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