Gunfire detection project piloted in Gelvandale

2017-12-13 06:01

THE Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMBM) have piloted a gunfire detection project called Shotspotter in an effort to help quell the scourge of gang violence in the northern areas.

The close to R3 million system, currently available in Gelvandale, is said to have taken nearly six months of planning and comes as a three-month pilot in the metro, with hopes of expansion to other hotspots.

According to NMB Executive Mayor Athol Trollip, this first of its kind system in the Eastern Cape has already yielded positive outcomes and arrests have already been made following its installation.

“Shotspotter is an incredible tool to help policing and making the city safer. What it does is as soon as the shot is discharged, it informs the Metro Police and South African Police Service instantaneously.

“The sound is sent directly to police officers by the shotspotter as the shots are being fired,” Trollip described.

He said previously, 98% of the shots fired weren’t reported to the police who were unaware of such incidents, adding that one of the major concerns is stray bullets. ”Through quick responses, this can now be prevented, Trollip said.

NMB Member of the Mayoral Committee for safety and security John Best said the system had drastically improved the police’s response time to criminal activities.

“During our six months of planning, we were in talks with the SAPS, getting all the statistics in place.

“We then realised that reaction times to some of the shooting incidents were between 10 to 20 minutes.

“We are now down to two minutes from the time that the shot is fired. We are responding within two minutes and we are covering a radius of 1.3km,” Best said.

Metro Police chief Yolande Faro said this joint initiative between the SAPS and Metro Police seeks to intervene and provide a much-needed solution to gang-related violence and deaths in the northern suburbs.

“The collaboration between the Metro Police and SAPS is a partnership. We are complimenting each other in terms of shotspotter and responding to gang violence; we are not in competition. We have actually been responding together to all the shooting incidents,” Faro said.

She added that gang-related shootings in the northern areas have escalated over the past year and the police are investigating more than 150 murder cases in Gelvandale.

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