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Police To Get Sonic Gunshot Detectors

With help from a federal grant, the V.I. Police Department will soon deploy sonic gunshot detectors that track exactly when and where a weapon is fired into St. Thomas and St. Croix neighborhoods facing lots of gun crime, according to Government House.

Gov. John deJongh Jr. recently signed a contract with SST, Inc., for its product called the ShotSpotter Flex Solution. It is a wide-area acoustic surveillance system that listens to the sound of gunfire and pinpoints the location of the shooter in real-time, according to a statement from Government House.

The equipment will first be deployed in areas of St. Thomas and St. Croix that have historically seen large numbers of gun crimes and reports of shots fired. Later, it will be deployed on St. John.

“This system will allow our police officers to do more with their manpower resources and make even greater inroads in efforts to address gun crime and the random firing of shots in our communities," deJongh said in the statement.

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Data gathered by ShotSpotter’s sensors and transmitted to police wirelessly will not only help responding officers determine where guns were fired, and thereby locate suspects, but will also assist law enforcement in conducting crime analysis, and serve as evidence in criminal prosecutions.

The territory’s ShotSpotter system was paid for by a technology grant from the U.S. Department of Justice. The V.I. Police Department will pay a subscription fee to access data from the system, while SST will maintain ownership of its equipment.

“We have spent a considerable amount of time analyzing the benefit of this system and have had a firsthand look at the technology at work in several locations on the U.S. mainland,” deJongh said.

“This gunfire alert and analysis service will improve our response times, allow us to apprehend criminals that otherwise would have gotten away and more effectively prosecute them,” Assistant Police Commissioner Raymond Hyndman said.

The U.S. Virgin Islands is the first Caribbean location to deploy ShotSpotter technology, according to Government House. ShotSpotter is already in service in many American cities, including Boston and Los Angeles, and in smaller cities like Newark, New Jersey, where it has been shown to reduce the number of homicides and other gun crimes.

The system has also been deployed by Brazilian public safety and security agencies to counter some of the highest gun crime rates in the world, according to Government House.

Law enforcement agencies that have adopted this system as part of a comprehensive crime-reduction strategy have reported reductions in urban gunfire of up to 80 percent, and related violent crime by as much as 40 percent. ShotSpotter also works well in mountainous terrains like those found in many parts of the Virgin Islands, also according to Government House.

Then V.I. Police Commissioner Novelle Francis promoted the idea of purchasing sonic gunshot detectors in 2009, saying at the time they cost $250,000 or more per unit and that he was seeking funding for two units (See: https://stcroixsource.com/content/news/local-news/2009/09/23/vi-crime-crossroads V.I. Crime at the Crossroads).

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With help from a federal grant, the V.I. Police Department will soon deploy sonic gunshot detectors that track exactly when and where a weapon is fired into St. Thomas and St. Croix neighborhoods facing lots of gun crime, according to Government House.

Gov. John deJongh Jr. recently signed a contract with SST, Inc., for its product called the ShotSpotter Flex Solution. It is a wide-area acoustic surveillance system that listens to the sound of gunfire and pinpoints the location of the shooter in real-time, according to a statement from Government House.

The equipment will first be deployed in areas of St. Thomas and St. Croix that have historically seen large numbers of gun crimes and reports of shots fired. Later, it will be deployed on St. John.

“This system will allow our police officers to do more with their manpower resources and make even greater inroads in efforts to address gun crime and the random firing of shots in our communities," deJongh said in the statement.

Data gathered by ShotSpotter’s sensors and transmitted to police wirelessly will not only help responding officers determine where guns were fired, and thereby locate suspects, but will also assist law enforcement in conducting crime analysis, and serve as evidence in criminal prosecutions.

The territory's ShotSpotter system was paid for by a technology grant from the U.S. Department of Justice. The V.I. Police Department will pay a subscription fee to access data from the system, while SST will maintain ownership of its equipment.

“We have spent a considerable amount of time analyzing the benefit of this system and have had a firsthand look at the technology at work in several locations on the U.S. mainland,” deJongh said.

“This gunfire alert and analysis service will improve our response times, allow us to apprehend criminals that otherwise would have gotten away and more effectively prosecute them,” Assistant Police Commissioner Raymond Hyndman said.

The U.S. Virgin Islands is the first Caribbean location to deploy ShotSpotter technology, according to Government House. ShotSpotter is already in service in many American cities, including Boston and Los Angeles, and in smaller cities like Newark, New Jersey, where it has been shown to reduce the number of homicides and other gun crimes.

The system has also been deployed by Brazilian public safety and security agencies to counter some of the highest gun crime rates in the world, according to Government House.

Law enforcement agencies that have adopted this system as part of a comprehensive crime-reduction strategy have reported reductions in urban gunfire of up to 80 percent, and related violent crime by as much as 40 percent. ShotSpotter also works well in mountainous terrains like those found in many parts of the Virgin Islands, also according to Government House.

Then V.I. Police Commissioner Novelle Francis promoted the idea of purchasing sonic gunshot detectors in 2009, saying at the time they cost $250,000 or more per unit and that he was seeking funding for two units (See: https://stcroixsource.com/content/news/local-news/2009/09/23/vi-crime-crossroads V.I. Crime at the Crossroads).