City Council President John Crawford said Fort Wayne is looking at advanced technology to help combat violent crime, including high tech cameras and gunshot detection technology. Crawford is also running for mayor.
Once Promenade Park opens, the council will begin the experimental phase of inputting these new technologies, starting with the cameras.
“First we’ll see how it works at the Promenade,” Crawford said. “I’m sure it will work fine, and then, I would use crime statistics to pick the areas I can most easily identify as high crime clusters, and then in those areas, I would put the high-tech surveillance cameras.”
Once the cameras prove to be effective, Crawford said Fort Wayne would explore other technology options like gunshot detection systems.
ShotSpotter is a gunshot detection system distributor. It says its system works as a series of acoustic sensors that are installed at the tops of tall buildings that will detect certain frequencies and send them back to an evaluation center in California. That center then compares the audio to file audio. If it matches a gunshot, police are alerted. That center can also detect if the gunfire is coming from an rifle or a handgun, if it’s a semi-automatic or an automatic weapon and so on. All of that is done in about 60 seconds.
“It’s really helped us, number one, respond quicker when we hear reports of shots fired,” said Ken Garcia, a public information officer with the South Bend Police department. South Bend has been using this technology since 2014. “But it also helps us locate any potential evidence like shell casings or any other evidence that may have been left behind to really kind of pinpoint us as to where we need to be so as far as that part of the investigation is concerned, it’s really helped out.”
ShotSpotters is a distributor of this technology. It says there is no concern of the sensors picking up private conversations because it is impossible for them to detect human voices.
Crawford said Fort Wayne is about three or four years from implementing this technology.