Wichita first city to use new gunshot detection technology

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WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

As we near the end of 2018, with 43 homicides and dozens more shootings, Wichita police are hoping something new can help them reduce and solve crime.

"It's generally only about one in five unlawful gunshots are actually called into police," said Captain Wendell Nicholson, with the Wichita Police Department.

Starting next week, the City will install sensors in Wichita neighborhoods designed to detect when and where a gun is fired and in what direction.

"That information will be sent to Sedgwick County 911 dispatch in a matter of seconds, allowing law enforcement to arrive more quickly at the scene. The faster response times will help officers locate suspects and those in need," explained Mayor Jeff Longwell.

Similar technology has had some success in other areas, like Chicago and San Diego.

But it isn't the sole solution.

In Fall River, Massachusetts, city leaders say the system they used was only 50 percent accurate.

"Part of the process that we'll go through is to collect data after each phase, see what needs to be adjusted, do that in the next phase, and then get, right, better each time," said Mike Mayta, Chief Information Officer for the City of Wichita.

But even untested, they're hopeful it will help response times.

"We want a safer community. Period," said Mayor Longwell.

The City isn't saying where the sensors will be located, fearing that would skew the data.

The technology is being paid for through a Community Safety Grant.