My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Why Jamaican Police use of ShotSpotter Technology requires Drones in the Sky

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Why Jamaican Police use of ShotSpotter Technology requires Drones in the Sky

“We are convinced that it can assist us, especially in densely populated areas where guns are used prevalently. We believe that there is value to it, because it would help us to certainly identify where there is gunfire and, hopefully, the response will allow us to actually intercept persons who are committing such crimes”

Deputy Commissioner of Police Glenmore Hinds commenting on the Ministry of National Security plans to acquire Systems & Services Technologies, Inc's ShotSpotter Technology

Looks like the Jamaican Police will soon have a pair of really big ears.

This as Ministry of National Security are soon to acquire technology from Systems & Services Technologies, Inc to detect the location of Gunshots as reported in the article “New Shot Detecting Device For Cops ­ ‘ShotSpotter’ Could Lead Cops To Where The Guns Are Being Fired”, Published Sunday June 12, 2016 by Ryon Jones, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Referred to as ShotSpotter Technology, the technology allows the Jamaican Police to detect the location of gun shots by using sensitive directional microphones and high speed IR (infrared) cameras mounted on high elevation.

In much the same way scientists photograph lighting using photosensor triggered cameras, the ShotSpotter Technology detects the location of a gunshot based on a combination of sound detected by the array of sensitive directional microphones as well as the unique heat signature detected by the high-speed IR camera.

It then places this information on an interactive map or even a whiteboard, making it possible for the CCN (Constabulary Communications Network) who will be getting this tech to spot and locate gunfire in real time.

Then the Jamaican Police can move in and hopefully intercept the criminals before they leave the scene of the crime as well as act as a deterrent to quote Deputy Commissioner of Police Glenmore Hinds: “There is also the deterrent effect; the fact that persons would know that it exists and may, or may not know where it exists; it would prevent persons from using guns”.

But will this actually help to solve gun related crime in Jamaica?

Jamaican Police to acquire ShotSpotter Technology - Faster Response to Gun Crimes requires Drones in the Sky

Systems & Services Technologies, Inc, which had developed their tech back in 1996, have been in negotiations with the Commissioner of Police Owen Ellington from the JCF (Jamaica Constabulary Force) since 2012.

Used in more than 90 cities with a cost of US$250,000 (J$31,275,000) per square mile of coverage, many have claimed reducing in crime thanks to this revolutionary product. In 2012, the city of Camden, in New Jersey, deployed the ShotSpotter Technology. By 2015, they'd reduced shootings by 50%, testimony to the idea that a audio and optical

According to Deputy Commissioner of Police Glenmore Hinds, it would help reduce the following statistics for gun related crimes in first 156 days of 2016:

1.      492 murders islandwide
2.      77% or 381 involved guns

Locating when and where gunshots are fired by having ShotSpotter strategically placed in crime hotspots is a great idea. Still, the law will have to be changed to allow the Jamaican Police to admit evidence gathered using the ShotSpotter as evidence to prove a crime has been committed.

In short, to have a stronger case, the CCN also need a set of eyes in the sky in the form of UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), more commonly called drones. The Ministry of Agriculture had planned to use drones in catching Honduran fishermen in the act of stealing conch and lobster off the Pedro Cays as detailed in my blog article entitled “@agriministryja Poacher Spotting Drones – Ministry of National Security to Determine How Drones can Fly Farther”.

Drones are already being tested in the Eye in the Sky project in Montego Bay since February 2015 as reported in my blog article entitled “Eye in the Sky Project in Montego Bay – How Drones reduce Crime in St James in 6 months as NAITS Initiative gets Rebooted”. So the use of drones to aid the Jamaican Police isn’t such a farfetched idea as it may seem.

Combining ShotSpotter with Drones will make it possible for the CCN to become a NOC (Network Operation Center), allowing the Jamaican Police to not only respond faster to gun crimes, but potentially capture, photographic, video and potentially audio recording using these silent gliders in the sky.

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