DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl said the department’s Shotspotter system showed over 80 percent of gunshots detected by the system weren’t called into the police department by local citizens over the course of June.
Biehl said this during a conference call with local media on Friday.
“That’s concerning because we’re talking about eroding quality of life,” Biehl said. “How can you have a sense of safety – if in some cases – you’re hearing gunshots daily in your neighborhood or area. (This activity) is occurring and it’s not likely healthy and won’t generate a sense of safety.”
Shotspotter is a system that uses acoustic sensors to detect and locate gunshots within an area. The Dayton Police Department began using the system in mid-December.
Biehl said he has yet to make a determination on the full effectiveness of the system. He said it takes at least 12 months for law enforcement to see if new technology works and passes a cost-benefit analysis.
“I have seen, in terms of benefits, incidents we weren’t aware of where or there were victims we weren’t alerted to,” Biehl said. “There have been significant shootings that are being detected and communicated. I’ve seen good outcomes related to it.”
Biehl said a recent shooting in Dayton with four victims had been detected by the system and alerted Dayton Police. He said he hoped the system will allow the community to put more faith in the police if they’re able to be more responsive to events in the city. In cases like the month of June, where so many shots aren’t called into 911, but police are able to respond anyway, it can build trust with people living in the city.
“If something was not initially reported and police do respond, it can create a greater sense of confidence in the community,” Biehl said. “They know the police will respond and if they care. In other jurisdictions, they have seen an improvement in the number of shots-fired incidents that were reported to the police. But I’m not looking at individuals arrested for gun crimes (as a success), I look at community members reporting incidents to police and working to help develop solutions to problems.”
Biehl said the department would prepare a report on the system by the end of the year for City Manager Shelly Dickstein and the City Commission.
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