A technology that detects the sound of gunfire will expand to six new neighborhoods this year, Cincinnati Police say.
Shotspotter is a system of as many as 25 auditory sensors per square mile placed on rooftops that automatically alerts police about gunfire. Currently, Cincinnati has the technology in areas around Avondale and Price Hill.
On New Year's Eve, the sensors detected 168 separate gunshots in those neighborhoods, CPD Assistant Chief Paul Neudigate says. The areas also saw a homicide and four other people shot. Some residents in Northside, Mount Auburn, Over-the-Rhine and other neighborhoods also reported hearing rounds of gunfire during New Year's celebrations.
Cincinnati officials have credited ShotSpotter with a 50-percent drop in shootings after its introduction in Avondale in 2017. But some in other cities have questioned whether the tool is effective, and at least one municipality has ceased using the technology after it missed some gunshots.
Cincinnati is going further with the technology and will roll it out in the West End this summer, Neudigate tweeted yesterday. Evanston, Millvale, Over-the-Rhine, South Fairmount and Westwood will also receive Shotspotter coverage by year's end.
As of Dec. 21, the date of the most recent report from CPD about crime levels, Cincinnati had seen 72 homicides in 2019. That's a 20 percent increase in homicides over the 60 for the year up to that date in 2018 and a 13 percent increase over the city's three-year average to that date. The city also saw 737 assaults up to Dec. 21, 2019, an 8 percent increase over 2018 year to date, but a 2 percent reduction from the city's three-year average. CPD had recovered almost 1,060 firearms in that period in 2019.