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Companies to begin installing gunshot detection systems in Indianapolis

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Posted at 4:03 PM, Jul 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-12 18:39:47-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Residents of the city's east side may soon see workers install gunshot detection devices on buildings and other structures near them.

It's part of an ongoing effort from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department toward implementing a gunshot detection system across the city.

The department has said it's testing three different pilot programs from the companies Flock, ShotSpotter and J&M Security Solutions. The systems will initially be tested in a nearly five-mile area on Indianapolis' near east side.

PREVIOUS | Indianapolis police one step closer to getting gunshot detection system

“This area has a higher than average number of gunshot incidents and through this, we believe it’s most appropriate to test this system," IMPD Commander Matthew Thomas said.

The department tells WRTV “several” devices are being installed but declined to provide a specific number. IMPD also declined to provide where the devices will be.

“Gunshot detection systems are proprietary technology and vendors use different strategies to determine where a gunshot occurs, it’s important we don’t promote a certain vendor," Thomas said.

The map below shows the area where the systems will be placed. The area has seen at least 43 homicides since 2020.

Note: The map below was drawn based on the area previously described by IMPD and may not be exact.

Those who live in the area may notice devices being installed on poles or buildings. They may also be approached by a representative of one of those three security companies and asked to put a device on their home or business. Participation is voluntary.

James Johnson lives in the five-square-mile area on the city’s Near Eastside where the detection system will be tested by IMPD. Just a few weeks ago, he said a stray bullet went through his front window.

“Personally I’d like them to put that gunshot detection thing right across the street," Johnson said.

Not everyone is keen on gunshot detection, though, including Katie Blair with the ACLU of Indiana.

“it makes me really concerned about over-surveilling communities, particularly communities of color and other civil liberty violations that may occur," Blair said.

The initial testing period for these systems comes at no cost. IUPUI will then collect and analyze the data to see if the systems help in things like response times when it wraps up latest by early November.

“Then at that time we continue to have the community conversations and we make a determination — is this right for Indianapolis?” Thomas said.

Last month, IMPD said investing in crime prevention technology, such as gunshot detection systems, has yielded positive results.

WRTV Senior Digital Content Producer Andrew Smith contributed to this report.