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ShotSpotter helps track gunfire in county

Police urge residents to avoid shooting guns into air on New Year's Eve
December 29, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Firing guns into the air is not only illegal, it can be lethal. As officials say, what goes up must come down. Police have new technology able to track down random gunfire, and the shooters, in L.A.At the stroke of midnight New Year's Eve, millions will celebrate. But officials in Los Angeles County hope residents will do so without shooting guns into the air.

"We know what goes up does come down and when it comes down it is not a pleasant set of circumstances," said L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.

Last New Year's Eve the county received 156 reports of shots fired. The sheriff's department and the LAPD are teaming up to enforce the law this year, using technology to pinpoint where shots are fired.

L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca said the ShotSpotter Gunshot Location System technology is roughly 95 percent accurate. The system triangulates the sound of a gunshot. The location is sent to the dispatch center, alerting deputies even before residents call in. On Sunday night, the ShotSpotter tracked down a gunshot victim.

"Had we not been able to locate this person, because no one called 911, no one called emergency, this individual could have possibly died," said Sheriff Baca.

So far this year, shots-fired calls in L.A. city limits are down 43 percent, a trend LAPD Chief William Bratton hopes to continue.

"Last year we seized 45 weapons during the two-day period, December 31st through January 1st," said Chief Bratton.

Authorities aren't saying exactly where the new system is located but they remind everyone shooting a gun in the air is a felony and if you're caught it's punishable by one year in state prison.


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