Report: Fort Worth to Install Gunshot-Detecting Microphones Around City

According to WFAA, the city of Fort Worth and its police department plan to install the sensors atop utility poles in an attempt to help fight crime. When a gunshot is detected, the devices will help other cameras and license-plate readers face in the direction of the shot.

The city of Fort Worth and the Fort Worth Police Department are planning to install gunshot-detecting microphones around the city, according to WFAA. 

The detectors will be installed atop utility poles, much like the license-tag reading Flock cameras the city has already installed and used to help fight crime.

The sensors are programmed to alert police after detecting gunshots, and will not be listening for human voices or other noises. When a gunshot is detected, the devices will help other cameras and license-plate readers face in the direction of the shot.

In May, Fort Worth Police Sgt. Jason Spencer told WFAA the detectors will help the force investigate 911 calls from citizens about gunshots.

“We might hear a gunshot from a drive-by shooting, and then see that vehicle on camera fleeing at a high rate of speed and get a license plate off it,” Spencer told WFAA. “It’ll be like having a really attentive neighbor.”

City Councilman Michael Crain told WFAA in May, after the council heard a presentation from the police department, that he’d support using taxpayer funding to support the the pilot program and further sensor installations if it goes well.

“Any time you have objective technology—body cameras and everything else —I’m very supportive of that,” Crain told WFAA at the time. 

Some in other cities including Chicago and New Orleans have objected to gunshot detectors over privacy concerns and uncertainties that they really reduce crime. But Crain believes Fort Worth is taking the right step in giving the technology a shot, so to speak.

“”If we work together to tell how this technology will help keep people safe, I think we can just tell the story better than maybe some of these other cities,” Crain told WFAA.

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