DENVER – If you live in downtown or northwest Denver, you’ll likely hear gunfire Thursday evening. Don’t worry, though: It’s all part of the Denver Police Department’s testing of the ShotSpotter system.
Between approximately 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., Denver police will calibrate their existing gunshot detection equipment in northwest Denver and then will test the newly-installed equipment in the downtown area.
The latter is the fifth geographic location in the city to have such a system in place.
The live-gunfire tests consist of a sequence of gunshots followed by validation of sound detection by the system, according to a news release from the police department. Officers say that during the test, a bullet trap will be used to ensure public safety, and that no bullets will be fired into the air or ground. The tests do not pose a danger to the public, a spokesperson from the department said.
Officers say they chose the 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. timeframe because most shootings and shots fired incidents happen at night and in the early morning hours, and acoustics are different at night.
Since implementing the technology in early 2015, the ShotSpotter program has led to 220 arrests and 173 firearms recovered by police, the spokesperson said.
East Denver, West Denver, Far Northeast Denver, and the East Colfax Corridor area are the other neighborhoods that have the gunshot detection technology in place.
The program is paid for through a federal grant and money from the Denver Police Department’s general fund. Half of the expense for the three-year service contract is made possible thanks to support from the Downtown Denver Partnership. The total contract is worth $648,909.