I last wrote about an experiment at Johns Hopkins University in which 93 sound sensors were set up to detect gunshots. The location is then projected onto a computer screen in the security office. Washington D.C. police have a similar program -- Baltimore's is called SECURES Gunshot Detection System -- and laud it as a great tool for responding quickly to gunfire.
Baltimore police have been skeptical but the free Hopkins trial allows them to test the system. I've questioned it's location in a relatively safe area of town -- from November to December of last year, only two noises registered as possible gunshot and one of those was a firecracker.
I asked Hopkins for an update from spokeswoman Tracey A. Reeves and she told me: "It’s still too early to make a case for or against the SECURES system or whether it should or will be expanded. But we can say that anytime you have a tool that can help you with investigations and provide another layer of security, it’s worthwhile.”
Here are some details:
Fortunately for Johns Hopkins University, we just don’t have a lot of shootings in the area. We’re fortunate in that way. If we do have them, this is what the gunshot detection system is - another level of protection for our students, faculty and staff.
Below is the latest information on the SECURES gunshot detection system is up and operating. Since January, the system has triggered six “red starburst” events, which is another way of saying possible or probably gunshots. They are as follows:March 8th , 11:38pm - - 2800 blk Guilford Ave - A neighbor had also called reported hearing two gunshots.
March 28th , 1:21am – 3000 blk St. Paul Street - Campus Officer happened to be on scene and reported fireworks.March 28th, 7:27pm - Barclay and 28th Street – Nothing found at scene and unable to locate any witnesses.
March 28th, 7:29pm – 400 blk Illchester Street - Same as above.April 11th 1:11am -– 2600 blk N. Barclay Street – neighbor also called and reported a male was yelling for help and was seeing running toward Lorraine Ave. Male was not located.
April 27th 5:12pm– 300 blk E. 28th Street – Nothing found at scene and unable to locate any witnesses
You can summarize that the two incidents had probably occurred and the “potential victims” were fortunate not to be shot. One incident was a “false positive” due to fireworks. The other three are probable based on the number of sensors triggered but are not substantiated by BPD or witnesses.