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ShotSpotter close to helping Pleasantville with gun crimes

Pleasantville’s police should have some major help tracking shootings by the end of next month.
ShotSpotter’s implementaion has gotten full support from the community and business owners, and should be fully functional by Feb. 27, according to a timeline presented to the public Thursday.
But the new audio gunshot detection system goes beyond alerting police to shootings, ShotSpotter’s Jason Smith explained.
It’s a joint effort in making an area more safe, and helping identify areas that need attention, he noted.
Smith pointed to Washington Park in Milwaukee, where the company worked with leaders in getting Habitat for Humanity housing that was then given to vetted residents to help turn the tide in a crime-ridden area.
“It’s a full community development piece,” he told BreakingAC.
And it’s about working together to make sure any cases that come from the alerts have the evidence they need.
In Milwaukee, they had a group that includes Distict Attorney John Chisholm.
In planning with Pleasantville, “I asked a lot of questions about prosecution and how that works,” Smith said, nodding to Atlantic County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Anne Crater, who was in the audience.
“We build teams of police around the prosecutor,” he later explained.
The audio gunshot detection system has been in Atantic City in 2013, lauded as a way to find shooting scenes and more quickly track shooters and even victims.
People call police less than 20 percent of the time for shootings, according to statistics Smith presented.
When they do call, the data is often late, inaccurate or incomplete.
Atlantic City police have long dealt with uncooperative victims who won’t even say where they were shot, leaving investigators without a good starting point.
But with sensors that triangulate where a shot came from and get that information to police in 30 to 45 seconds, that has changed.
Pleasantville Police chief Sean Riggin has long wanted the system, but the city was unable to afford it. Then, a referendum got on the ballot, and was approved by the voters in November. The total cost is $195,000 a year for three years.
“We’ve made substantial progress,” he said. “I think that, God willing and the creek don’t rise, we’ll go ahead and make our target dates and be ready to go and turn this thing on and look for the sort of violent crime protection we’ve been looking for.”
Gary Field, who owns Gary’s Restaurant, said he fully supports the efforts.
“I hope it works and cuts down on crime in our city,” he said. “The concept is good. It will help our community. And who doesn’t want to create a safe environment for our kids?”

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