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For or against? Virginia Beach Police Department expands gunshot detection technology

Some people who live in the Beach said they agree with the use of the technology. Others said there is no need for it.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Virginia Beach Police have expanded the technology they're using to detect gunfire in seconds. 

Police said the ShotSpotter technology has the ability to notify officers of gunshot incidents in the city within seconds of a gun going off. 

Captain Jeffery Wilkerson from Virginia Beach's Third Precinct shared the news on Twitter that ShotSpotter technology is now active in the Western Bayside area. The equipment uses sensors to locate where a gun was fired. 

On Thursday, the police department announced the new equipment is now active. Virginia Beach Police Chief Paul Neudigate sent letters to residents and business owners who are located in the Western Bayside.

In part of the letter, Chief Neudigate wrote, “The use of ShotSpotter will ensure the VBPD officers are notified of gunshot incidents in seconds versus minutes or possibly not even notified at all."

Virginia Beach resident Anthony Deanes lives near the lake Edward area. He hopes the shot spotter helps his community.

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“If we’re able to isolate on where these gun fires are coming from. There's been a lot of accidental shootings. People are being shot by stray bullets and if we can get a quicker response then we can probably prevent some of the casualties," said Deanes. 

May Goodman who works in western Virginia Beach has her doubts about the technology.

“I really don't feel like it's necessary. I don't," said Goodman. 

Goodman explained that she understands how the technology can help but also how it might impact the community. 

"If they had no access to a telephone that they will be able to be already alarmed because the technology is in play but then, of course, the drawback is what if there is not really a real shooting going on as far as someone’s hurt it might take away from them actually being in an actual emergency that they can tend to," Goodman said. 

The new system will allow police to investigate all reports of gunfire identified by the technology.

“We’ll see what happens hopefully it's beneficial if not well then I guess when we’re know where they need to spend their money next time," said Goodman. 

Virginia Beach police did their first testing of ShotSpotter at the Oceanfront in July.

Author's Note: The video below is on file from July 15, 2021.

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