Wichita To Install System That Detects Gunshots

Dec 7, 2018

Wichita will launch a Gunshot Detection System next week, which can locate where gunfire occurs.

Acoustic sensors will be installed in unspecified locations across the city. Their locations were determined by crime data collected over the past three years and requests from residents.

The sensors can pinpoint gunfire’s location, time, type and direction within a square mile, and then send data to dispatchers in seconds.

Michael Barnett, Smart City coordinator for Wichita, says the project will be rolled out in three phases.

“This is going to give our police a better way of responding to crime as it occurs,” Barnett says. “According to the Brookings Institution, between 13 and 22 percent of gunshots are ever reported to police. That's it.”

Barnett says the system will not intrude on Wichitans’ privacy — such as conversations, for instance — and that the sensors’ only use is for gunshot detection.

The Community Safety grant is funding the project, which has cost $5,800 to date.

Wichita is the first city to use this particular technology system, officials  said.

Andrew Linnabary is an intern in the KMUW News Lab.