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ShotSpotter Technology to Expand to South Sacramento in 2017

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SACRAMENTO -- It isn’t hard for Michelle Dora to remember back to the latest shooting in her South Sacramento neighborhood.

"Oh yeah, just the other night. Maybe just a handgun, and it sounded like they were going back and forth, back and forth,” said Dora.

Her area is now the next target region for Sacramento Police to install "ShotSpotter" technology.

It's an advanced system of sensors and surveillance that allows police to hear, and pinpoint the exact location of a gunshot within 25 feet in less than a minute.

"We're alerted to the sounds of gunfire, or the activity of someone shooting, well in advance of somebody picking up the phone and calling,” said Matthew McPhail with the Sacramento Police Department.

McPhail says ShotSpotters have revolutionized the way officers respond to shootings.

In its first nine months, police records show the technology led officers to more than 360 shooting incidents for which no one placed a 911 call, meaning police would likely have missed the incident altogether without the ShotSpotter. It led to more than 50 arrests and 53 seized illegal guns.

He says the department would like them in every part of the city, but installation and maintenance of the technology can get expensive.

"We are actually preventing additional crimes from occurring after the fact, the investment is well worth the money,” said McPhail.

The city approved $165,000 for ShotSpotters in the North Highlands area. The city has budgeted $200,000 for the latest round of installations in South Sacramento for 2017.

"I want to feel safe in the neighborhood. I want my child to be able to come to the store by himself,” said Amaru Yawo-El, who lives in the same area as Dora.

Both like the idea of expanding the location of ShotSpotters.

"Bullets don't have names, and they travel through walls, too, you know,” said Dora.

Her hope is that the technology continues to lead police directly to people using guns illegally and makes her neighborhood a little safer and quieter.