ShotSpotter Data Shows the Technology Has Saved Lives

PITTSBURGH, PA (June 15, 2021) The City of Pittsburgh announced data from 2019 and 2020 today that shows the system was the only reporting mechanism to first responders for 13 shooting victims over the past two years. 

ShotSpotter is a gunshot detection service that uses a wide-area network of acoustic sensors to detect when a gun is fired and then precisely and quickly pinpoints the location of the gunfire. In less than a minute, police and 911 dispatchers are notified of the validated gunfire incidents, even if no one calls 911. The ShotSpotter system was piloted in Pittsburgh Police Zone 5 before being deployed citywide in 2018.

In 2019 there were 5 shootings where police and paramedics responded to a ShotSpotter notification without any 911 call and found a victim. In 2020, that number grew to 8 shootings. Without the ShotSpotter notification, it is unknown when, if ever, first responders would have been notified and given the opportunity to provide life saving care.

In addition to these shootings where first responders were able to save lives, nearly 31% of all ShotSpotter notifications in 2020 did not also have any accompanying 911 call. This allowed police to recover critical evidence and guns that would have otherwise been missed.  


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Molly Onufer
Communications Director
Mayor's Office