The Springfield Police Department announced the expansion of the ShotSpotter system in the city's North End Thursday afternoon.
The expansion was made possible through donations from local businesses.
"It enhances police officers' safety, it enhances the safety of the public and it is another technology tool for the police department," said Springfield Police Commissioner William Fitchet.
He says the expansion of the ShotSpotter system is a great tool to help police officers fight crime.
"I call it a force multiplier," said Fitchet.
The gun detection system was first launched back in 2007 and the recent expansion, which essentially doubled the coverage area from three to six miles, went into effect around six months ago.
"We have sensors deployed throughout the city strategically and what it does is it looks for an impulse sound that the computer system has determined to be a gunshot," said Officer Sean Sullivan. "It's giving us an edge in trying to catch a person with a gun and getting them off the street."
Annually the system enables police to arrest around 14 individuals and recover just as many guns.
Jose Claudio, the director of community development for the New North Citizens Council, was instrumental in making the expansion possible.
"It was important for us to go to the next level. We had done the street leaders; we had done everything that we had to do to make it work," said Claudio. "And, I said now we got to bring it to the next level how can we deal with the shooting and all this and all that."
With the help of local businesses, in less than four months Claudio was able to raise a $120,000 commitment for the system for the next three years.
And many residents say they're thankful for all of the action that has been taken to help reduce crime in their neighborhood.
"I feel like my kids can go out and play because it is a safer environment," said North End resident Eloiza Mussenden.
The hope is that the expanded technology in addition to the work the C-3 policing unit is doing in the area will continue to cut down on crime throughout the North End.
Copyright 2013 WSHM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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