LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department together with the Clark County commissioners announced that they plan to expand the ‘ShotSpotter’ gunfire detection technology into several neighborhoods in the Las Vegas Valley.

ShotSpotter is an acoustic detection technology that uses audio sensors to detect, locate and alert police agencies to the location of gunfire incidents in real time.

The program was first launched in 2017 in the Northeast valley and was expanded to include a second location in South Central and Southeast area of the Valley.

During the first nine months of the pilot program, ShotSpotter identified 487 potential gunshot events, with 65 percent of them going unreported to police. 

Of those events that were reported to 9-1-1, ShotSpotter reported events faster than 9-1-1 dispatch – 86 percent of the time – and often with more accurate location information.

Phone calls to 9-1-1 typically take time to process and initial reporting information from callers, while important, often can be vague.

The goal is to detect more shootings, solve more crimes, catch serial shooters due to a small number of people being responsible for many crimes, and improve community trust.

“ShotSpotter technology is a great enhancement to our operations and has proven itself to be quite effective in identifying illegal shootings that would normally go unreported,” said Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Undersheriff Kevin McMahill. “The technology has resulted in faster response times, increased collection of evidence and an overall reduction in violent crime.”

Property being tampered with the technology is a concern; however, Metro stressed at efforts of balancing effectiveness with protecting community privacy. Metro Police made clear that the units cannot monitor or record conversations. They are only triggered by impulse sounds.

The technology does not replace the need for people to call 9-1-1 to report possible crimes in progress, but has proven to be useful tool in enhancing police response to scenes, evidence collection and crime-fighting efforts to stop gun violence.

“Data shows that our highest crime areas tend to be poorer neighborhoods where the sound of gun shots happens so frequently that many people don’t bother to call 911,” said Commissioner Lawrence Weekly.