The Business of the City: Miscellaneous

Thursday, August 11, 2011

ShotSpotter: Up for a Vote at the Monday, August 15 Council Meeting

Dear residents,

As you know, I am a member of the city council's Public Safety Committee--we are in regular contact with Director Hellwig so that we are aware of what the administration is doing to keep us all safe.

Below is additional information on ShotSpotter, Inc. The contract is up for a vote at the August 15 business meeting. Below are links to the documents I received.

The first one is the proposal:

The second one is the contract:
ShotSpotter Service and License Agreement

The third one is an efficacy study:

The efficacy study (done by a company called CSG Analysis) is not an independent, longitudinal study, since it was sent to us by ShotSpotter, Inc.

In addition, the city council received some testimonials from agencies and/or police departments that use or have used the ShotSpotter system. All were very favorable, but some had additional recommendations for maximum effectiveness--some having to do with preferences of buying rather than leasing (and vice versa) and with officer training. 

The FBI has successfully used the system in several large cities with high murder rates/shots fired calls--Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and New Orleans were mentioned as cities that had crime reductions after ShotSpotter was deployed. The system is currently being used in Buffalo and Miami. 

I hope this information provides more context about this law enforcement tool. If you have questions, please feel free to email me. Again, the city council meeting will take place at 8:00 pm on Monday, August 15 at the municipal courthouse.

All best,



  1. East Orange is using it. What about comments from them directly?

    Siddeeq W. El-Amin

  2. Hi, Siddeeq,

    I will see if I can get some comments from them--I have stats--I will see if I can post them.


  3. Rebecca, Here is an excerpt from "The National Bureau of Economic Research" dated 8/12/11. It is part of an article that explains how NYC drastically reduced crime -

    "The police measure that most consistently reduces crime is the arrest rate of those involved in crime, the study finds. Felony arrest rates (except for motor vehicle thefts) rose 50 to 70 percent in the 1990s. When arrests of burglars increased 10 percent, the number of burglaries fell 2.7 to 3.2 percent. When the arrest rate of robbers rose 10 percent, the number of robberies fell 5.7 to 5.9 percent. In the case of murder, the decline was 3.9 to 4 percent; in the case of assault, 2 to 2.4 percent; and for motor vehicle theft, 5 to 5.1 percent."

    It always appears to me that Plainfield looks myopically at things. Are we able to arrest and convict the people we catch, or are they let go to continue their "jobs".

    Thank you for your information.

  4. How to Defeat Shotspotter - It took me less than a minute to find this on the internet: "What about silencers?
    'While high-quality silencers (also known as "muzzle blast suppressors") do have the ability to defeat ShotSpotter, the reality is, they are very rare and are illegal nationwide. Thus, while owning a licensed gun is not illegal, and carrying it usually is not (depending on jurisdiction), having in one’s possession a silencer is virtually guaranteed to lead to criminal prosecution. Moreover, silencers are both exceedingly difficult to find and have a negative impact on the accuracy and range of gunfire. Perhaps this is why less than 1% of all crimes in which guns are fired involve silencers, according to the FBI.'" How long will it take the our criminals to figure it out.