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Flint to use high tech tool to target gun crime

SST inc.

The city of Flint is turning to a new high tech tool to crack down on gun crime in the city.    

The "Shot Spotter” system uses more than a dozen sonic sensors to pinpoint the location of where gun shots are fired in a square mile area. The SST system is already being used in more than 60 cities around the country, including Saginaw. 

Company president Ralph Clark said the Shot Spotter system should help Flint police officers respond to reports of gunfire in the city.  

“This will allow law enforcement, to not only respond more quickly, and precisely to gunfire incidents,  but also provide a powerful, post incident investigative tool," said Clark.   

Flint police respond to about 20 reports of gunfire every day. But the head of the city’s public safety department admits the actual number of shots fired is probably much higher. Public Safety director Alvern Lock said the 911 calls are often from city residents who hear the shots, but didn’t see the shooter.  

“You can imagine finding a shooter…and the exact location where the shots were fired…with such limited information…it’s like finding a needle in a haystack," said Lock. 

The city hopes to have the system installed in an unidentified part of the city early next year. 

But not everyone is sold on the 'Shot Spotter' technology. The Detroit city council voted against buying the ‘Shot Spotter’ system recently.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.