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As the CNNMoney article states, “Police surveillance cameras can make civil libertarians quesy.”

Funny… that has not affected the number of cameras going up! :-)

A Mountain View, California company, ShotSpotter,  manufactures technology that can detect and localize gunshots, instead! ShotSpotter has installed microphones on telephone poles in 45 cities and counties across the U.S. with few complaints from local citizens (… probably because many people are unaware that the technology even EXISTS! :-) ).

ShotSpotter microphones can detect a gunshot from a mile or more away. The exact location of each shot is determined by triangulation and a recording is transmitted wirelessly to police dispatchers. ShotSpotter currently monitors around 125 square miles, covering 900,000 inhabitants at a cost of $25,000 per square mile. Shotspotter has 50 employees and is growing!

Late last year, ShotSpotter was installed in San Francisco. Since the beginning of the year, San Francisco’s homicide rate has dropped 50%. (Remember the difference between correlation and causality.) According to the San Francisco Police Department, the technology has had a deterrent effect.

ShotSpotter’s customers include the U.S. Army, which has been testing the system in Iraq. As a result, the Commerce Department classified the microphones as “munitions.” (Remember when the PGP code was classed as a munition? :-) ) CEO James Beldock, 34, fought back spending $500,000 for lawyers and consultants. ShotSpotter won the right to sell to polices forces all over the world. Their first target is Brazil.

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™

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