I-Team: Exclusive look at new security technology watching, listening on Fremont Street

I-Team Special Reports

ShotPoint system installed at Vegas landmark

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Reports of a gunman at a concert in Downtown Las Vegas caused chaos two years ago, but today, new technology installed on site could have helped police determine there was nothing to worry about.

Cameras and sensors under the canopy at the Fremont Street Experience watch and listen to what is happening below. The technology from Databuoy, based on the East Coast, but with an office in Las Vegas, was installed last fall.

The system, called ShotPoint, acts like digital eyes and ears, finding a threat fast.

“Our system will not only detect the shot, but we will confirm that it’s an actual shot, not a popped balloon, not a car backfiring, not a firecracker,” Nick Jones of Databuoy told the I-Team.

Sixteen censors across four blocks of Fremont Street are keeping digital eyes and ears out to what is happening below. The technology behind the system was first developed at the Department of Defense, Jones said.

“Because we can confirm that shot and identify it within seconds, we can then notify and then activate the camera at the moment it’s happening,” he said.

Even with background noise or a concert, ShotPoint can detect sound signatures and alert police.

Video from the incident two years ago showed crowds of people running from the stage after reports of gunfire. ShotPoint’s system would have quickly confirmed there was no threat, Jones said.

“The cameras are great, but we need stuff to help us identify when something happens,” Mark Reddon, Fremont Street Experience’s director of security, said. “Although it won’t stop it, it let’s us know instantly that we need to do something.”

In the event of a real shooting, the sensors would track the sound of the gunshot, mapping it out on a screen. Cameras would also immediately begin recording, pinpointing where the shots came from. It’s one-of-a-kind technology Jones said could have aided investigators and police on 1 October, when it took hours to confirm gunfire was coming from one person at one property.

“We would have been able to tell security, ‘Only one shooter shooting from this room, he’s approximately on this floor,’” Jones said.

The technology is different than audio-based gunshot detection because it includes video tracking and software to determine a gunshot’s direction.

Looking ahead, Reddon hopes the technology he has invested in to keep one of Las Vegas’ top attractions safe could lead to a downtown network.

“The more that we can get connected in, the better coverage we will have all over,” he said.

The sensors could also be deployed as part of area-wide networks, Jones said, detecting and deterring crime.

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