| RIO DE JANEIRO – State public security officials in Rio announced today calibration testing on the city’s new ShotSpotter gunshot detection and analysis system. The system is the same used by the FBI and many other law enforcement agencies in the United States and around the world to react quickly and accurately to arms fire.
With 2014 World Cup games set to arrive in less than three years and 2016 Olympic Games two years later, police have embarked on a number of programs, such as pacification and policing of previously lawless slums, or favelas, to increase security and decrease violence in the city. ShotSpotter is another tool police hope will assist them in reaching their goals.
According to the manufacturer’s website “Police and law enforcement agencies around the globe are using SST to provide real-time information about gunfire and explosions, enabling a more effective response to gun violence and giving them a more complete picture of crime, so that they can better protect their personnel and their communities.”
The calibration tests announced today will be taking place between the 5th and 7th of December in the Tijuca, Maracana, Vila Isabel and Andarai areas of the metropolitan area. Police will be shooting guns of various calibers and makes in these urban areas so that accurate “acoustic signatures” can be made for each weapon.
Colonel George Freitas de Souza, Superintendent of Sensors and Monitoring Department, told G1 Rio that “the system will allow quick and appropriate response to events, allowing for the capture of criminals, immediate relief for victims, immediate information and location of events and a decrease of 15 to 18 minutes in response time—all while avoiding false alarms.”
The system will operate utilizing 70 sound sensors hidden in various parts of the Northern Zone. According to the colonel, once a firearm is discharged in the monitored area, the system will be able to locate the point of shooting within a margin of error of 10 meters (about 32 feet) and identify the caliber and type of weapon.
Reports of gunshots or explosions detected by the system will be analyzed and sent to the Public Security Bureau in about 6 seconds. The system won’t be ready to go online right out of the box, however. The system will need to go through a series of testing, adjustments and calibration, which will begin next year just after Carnaval.
The testing scheduled for next week will take place at night between 10 pm and 3 am. Areas will be sealed off and residents notified before the tests begin. Traffic will be banned in the areas of the tests, which will be carried out by firing different caliber and types of guns and rifles into sandbags. At each location 20 shots in five different calibers will be fired.
In addition to identifying different types and calibers of firearms, the system can identify types of explosions and classify them as harmless—fireworks and auto backfires—or as potentially terrorist or bombs exploding.
Other areas where testing will take place are: Muda, Usina and Grajaú, also the communities of Borel, Casa Branca, Indiana, Formiga, Macacos, Salgueiro and Coreia, all pacified favelas.