Savannah Police renew ShotSpotter contract, expand features


SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV)- The Savannah Police Department has renewed their annual contract with ShotSpotter, but this year they upgrading.

The improved – “ShotSpotter” Mission technology will help officers predict where crime could happen.

It’s where technology meets policing sensors are positioned all around the city that not only tell you if a gun has been fired but where.

“This system allows us to be right on top of that within a few meters of where the gunshots fired and that brings our resources in faster and more efficiently,” said Major Robert Gavin with the Savannah Police Department.

SPD has been using the ShotSpotter technology since 2015, but this year they’re putting the data they’ve collected to work.

Gavin said it uses a series of algorithms that can actually forecast where crime is likely to happen.

“That way we can deploy our resources and our officers better,” said Gavin. “To help be on those spots when those things occur and start being on top of the people that are firing weapons.”

Right now shot spotter mission is concentrated in the areas with the greatest infrastructure. This includes the downtown area and parts of the East and Westside.

Gavin said that’s because it takes a strong signal.

“As we progress both the city with infrastructure and IT and we are able to spread this out we’ll hopefully continue to spread this system where we need it,” said Gavin.

It will take some time and a lot of money before the technology reaches throughout the Southside. Alderman Kurtis Purtee of District 6 said “intel” policing is just one piece of the puzzle. He’s also looking at other solutions like getting kids off the streets.

“We are looking at a community center and its not just a community center, but it’s going to be a multicultural, multi-aged place,” said Purtee. “Where kids, adults, and seniors can go and we can have mentorship programs.”

Savannah Police said there have been a total of 24 shootings this year and 151 ShotSpotter alerts. ShotSpotter now extends to a 6 1/2 square mile coverage area, one mile larger than last year.

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