By Kelly Werthmann
DENVER (CBS4) – The Denver Police Department asked the Denver City Council for more than $500,000 to pay for the city’s ShotSpotter gunshot sensor technology and triple the coverage. It was approved unanimously Monday night.
“We have seen that this has been highly successful in the city,” Councilman Albus Brooks said.
ShotSpotter is a gunfire detection system that alerts officers to precise crime scenes within seconds. Since it was installed in an undisclosed location in January, ShotSpotter has recorded more than 400 gunshot alerts, leading to dozens of arrests.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is funding the program this year, which typically costs about $55,000 per square mile.
“Now it’s time for us to pick up the bill and expand the program,” Captain Steven Carter with the Denver Police Department told CBS4. “We’re going to triple the coverage area and hopefully bring this to other neighborhoods that desperately need it.”
Mark DeFee told CBS4 he hopes ShotSpotter expands to his neighborhood in Stapleton where he said crime is on the rise.
“Every other day we get texts from neighbors saying they heard shots fired somewhere,” DeFee said. “So, for us, it’s just about finding a way to keep our neighborhoods safe.”
Denver police will not say where ShotSpotter is currently installed or where it will expand to because they do not want to tip off criminals. However, Carter said authorities value the public’s input.
“We can’t put it all over the city and, quite frankly, the whole city doesn’t need it,” Carter said. “We take a careful look at crime data. We don’t want to choose economically challenged neighborhoods. We want to choose neighborhoods where there is high incidents of gun violence.”
The $525,000 approved by City Council will fund the expanded use of ShotSpotter in Denver from January 2016 through January 2017.
Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team in 2012 as the morning reporter, covering national stories like the Aurora Theater Shooting and devastating Colorado wildfires. She now reports for CBS4 News at 10 and is always open to story ideas. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @KellyCBS4.