The Long Beach City Council voted Tuesday night to approve the gunshot-recognition software ShotSpotter, using a $500,000 grant from Nassau County.
Long Beach City Manager Jack Schnirman plans to enter into contract, using no additional city funds, with the California-based ShotSpotter Flex Gunfire Alert and Analysis system.
City Council members announced plans in June to implement ShotSpotter after police requested funding to better respond to gunfire and shootings. The technology registers the sound of gunfire and instantly relays the whereabouts for police to investigate. Long Beach is joining New York City and several Long Island communities with the system, including Hempstead and Nassau County.
The city plans to install audio sensors at the top of poles throughout the city. An audiologist analyzes the gunshot, and the average notification to police is made within 20 seconds, said Police Commissioner Michael Tangney.
"ShotSpotter is a state of the art law enforcement tool designed to provide law enforcement agencies with the benefit of real-time gunshot alerts that identify the location where a gunshot incident occurred, obtain situational intelligence of what transpired, reduce law enforcement response times, and act as a deterrent to gun violence," Schnirman said.Schnirman said Tuesday's contract was the second step in bringing the technology to the city, which has also joined a related, intermunicipal agreement with Nassau County, to share information with Nassau police.
The city is using the technology to try to curb periodic gunfire, which peaked after a series of shootings at the Channel Park housing complex in the North Park neighborhood, including one where a 4-year-old boy was grazed by a bullet in June.
Police also responded to four gunshots last week on National Boulevard.
Officers have installed cameras at the Channel Park homes and knocked on every door to connect with residents, Tangney said. He said the city split costs with the housing complex for additional patrols in the neighborhood.
The city has destroyed 500 guns purchased from residents in gun-buyback programs during the last two years. Reports of shots fired have been reduced 36 percent this year with the formation of a gun task force, Tangney said.
Several impassioned residents told City Council members at Tuesday night's meeting they were fearful after gunfire on their streets. Alison Rosenthal said a gun was found in a trash bin outside her home.
"This is getting ridiculous," Rosenthal said. "I should not have to fear for my children sleeping in their bedroom at night."