Boston Looking at Audio Surveillance System to Track Gunshots

Technology would cost $1.5M, would aid in pinpointing crimes in city's dangerous neighborhoods

Police could not say yesterday how many of the shooting cases were solved, but said that of 610 cases involving shootings or brandishing a gun last year, 23 percent resulted in the arrest or identification of a suspect.

Police would not say yesterday exactly where they would deploy the system, but based on the department's crime statistics, it is considered likely to cover parts of Dorchester, Mattapan, Roxbury, and the South End.

Davida Andelman, who lives on Clarkson Street in Dorchester, just yards away from where 14-year-old Jason Fernandes was shot to death on New Year's Day, said she hopes the city finds money to pay for the technology soon.

"It's a little disconcerting at quarter of six on New Year's Day morning to hear six gunshots," said Andelman, chairwoman of the Greater Bowdoin-Geneva Neighborhood Association. "This is happening far too often in our neighborhood."

Similar gunshot-detection systems are already being used by police in a number of US cities in addition to Chicago, including Minneapolis; Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles; Oakland, Calif.; Gary, Ind.; Charleston, S.C.; and Rochester, N.Y.

In an October incident in Washington, the technology led police to a suspect minutes after a man was gunned down while mowing a lawn.

And just hours after being activated in Minneapolis late last month, the system caught a suspect in a shooting that hadn't been reported to police. Minneapolis Police Lieutenant Gregory Reinhardt said the city's mayor has emphasized investments in police technology, a choice that he said is paying off.

"We've had four significant events captured," he said. "An officer-involved shooting, a homicide, an arrest of a convicted felon with a gun, and the recovery of another gun. That's in a 2-square mile area within 10, 12 days of each other."