One Device Tracks Gunshots; Another Stops Teens from Loitering
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Richland County deputies have unveilved two new high-tech devices which they say should help to combat and reduce crime.

One is called the ShotSpotter, the other is known as the Mosquito.

The ShotSpotter uses specially designed acoustic sensors to ‘hear’ a gunshot when it’s fired. That data is then sent to a computer, where it’s put on a map for law enforcement so they can respond.

The ShotSpotter’s designers say it can determine the time of the firing down to the tenth of a second, and let officers know how many rounds it was fired. It can even tell which shots were fired from which direction. With current broadband technology, they can be installed anywhere. Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott says the device will be deployed in areas where they’ve had problems with shootings.

“We want to be proactive, we want to have this in place before we have problems like New York, and Boston and New Orleans.” The system was provided without the use of county funds.

The Mosquito is aimed at stopping young people from spraying graffiti and loitering.

It came out of a partnership between the Richland County Sheriff’s Department and police in Britain, and is the first of its kind in the United States.

It works by sending out a high-frequency signal which people under the age of 25 can hear, but those over that age would have trouble making out. The sound is designed to be annoying, hopefully making the person want to leave the area. It’s not designed to cause any kind of harm to the person. Deputies have been testing the system since 2005.

One of the test areas was at the Columbia Mall. The system will be rolled out to other areas, and Lott says they will be moved from location to location.

Date 10 October 2007

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