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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Gun-Happy Fourth of July Revelers, Beware: Police Can Track You

Posted By on Wed, Jul 3, 2013 at 8:08 AM

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  • An American

This Fourth of July, San Francisco police will be working hard to remind you where your independence begins and ends.

The cops crafted this pre-Independence Day message for any of those planning to ring in the Fourth of July with a round of celebratory gunfire: It's illegal so don't do it.

To be sure, SFPD is teaming up with ShotSpotter -- a private technology company that can locate where a gunshot has been fired. In other words, if you shoot, they will find you.

It does so by triangulating data from acoustics censors placed in high-crime areas through the city, said a company spokeswoman. The police department can then send officers to these areas within minutes, said Officer Albie Esparza.

Once the sensors pick up that dreaded boom, an acoustics expert on staff determines if it is indeed a gunshot by listening to the audio. The company then sends the police department the exact address, the longitude and latitude within minutes, said Lydia Barrett, a spokeswoman for ShotSpotter.

"You got information you couldn't get from the 911 caller," she said. "[Officers] know if it's a multiple shooter situation; they find shell casings and use it for witness or evidence, to corroborate witness accounts.

Both the police department and ShotSpotter declined to say where they have censors, saying only they are located in known high-crime areas.

The cops couldn't say for sure how big of a problem these celebratory gunshots are in San Francisco, but the risk of just one gunshot hurting someone is enough, Esparza said.

"What goes up comes down -- and it can kill someone," he said.

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Rigoberto Hernandez


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