St. Louis police getting system to help pinpoint gunfire

By Bill Bryan
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

ST. LOUIS, Mo. — A system that can recognize the sound of gunfire and identify its location will be installed in St. Louis with money from a federal grant, the police department announced Wednesday.

The "urban gunshot detection monitoring system" compares sounds reaching microphones at various locations to triangulate the exact location of a shot within seconds. The mikes have a range of about one mile each.

Police said it should provide quicker police response and result in more weapons arrests and confiscations.

The department will seek bids for the project, to be financed with half of a $500,000 grant. It could be running within months.

The military uses such a system, as do police in other urban departments.

The rest of the Justice Department grant will go to the Police Executive Research Forum, a national think tank, to help St. Louis police develop a gun-violence reduction strategy that could become a national model.

"We believe this joint venture will help us to understand and examine the root causes of violent crime, especially those involving firearms," Police Chief Joe Mokwa told the St. Louis Police Board at its meeting Wednesday.

"It will help us create strategies to interrupt the cycle of violence." 

Copyright 2007 St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Inc.

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