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"Operation ShotSpotter" uses gunshot-sensing technology to build community

Sep 23, 2015

Detroit City Council member Scott Benson and volunteers announce Operation ShotSpotter.
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Gunshot-sensing technology is the launching pad for a new community-building effort in one northeast Detroit neighborhood.

“Operation ShotSpotter” takes advantage of the sensors that Detroit Police are testing in some city neighborhoods right now.

ShotSpotter sensors are supposed to pinpoint the time and location of gunfire.

Detroit City Council member Scott Benson says he receives that data from police, and will pass it on to neighborhood volunteers.

After a three-day “cooling off” period, they’ll start knocking on doors.

“We’ll let people know on that block – and this will be just one block where the gunshot where the gunshots were heard – that gunshots were heard, we hope you’re ok, here’s some information,” Benson says.

Volunteers will get a chance to check in with neighbors, and also pass out phone numbers for social service and other community resources, says Mohican-Regent Neighborhood Association George Preston.

“It gives us an opportunity to talk to our neighbors that we haven’t been talking to, just to let them know that they’re safe, and that we’re all working together to improve the quality of our neighborhood,” Preston says.

Preston says volunteers will work with law enforcement as needed, but the main focus of the operation is “humanitarian.”