Cambridge Police Department to Implement ShotSpotter Flex Gunfire Alert and Analysis Service


The Cambridge Police Department announced today that it will be implementing the SST’s ShotSpotter Flex solution – a new gun detection service – on June 30, 2014 to support its proactive policing strategies and deployments and ongoing commitment to improve the safety, security and quality of life for its residents.

ShotSpotter Flex, which provides the when, where and what of gunshot incidents, will be a valuable tool in supporting the Cambridge Police Department’s policing and enforcement efforts across all areas of their operations. Not only does it enable the Police Department to respond faster and more safely to gunfire incidents, but the solution also allows the police to proactively develop effective problem-oriented, data-driven policing strategies and tactical deployments. Additionally, the Cambridge Police Department will now be able to gather more detailed gunfire incident information and forensic evidence for investigations and analysis, resulting in increased prosecutions for gun-related crime, and the data will enhance crime analysis and predictive policing capabilities, leading to improved public safety and security.


How ShotSpotter Works

If a gun is fired, the sound of the explosion radiates out from the point of origin.  As a result of this sound, multiple ShotSpotter sensors throughout a defined coverage area are triggered. The data is transmitted to SST Operations (the company that installs and maintains the sensors), where the data is analyzed to determine whether it was actually a gunshot, rather than some other ambient noise. If confirmed as gunfire, the SST analysts will pinpoint the origin of the gunfire. Coordinates of the origin of the gunshot(s) are transmitted simultaneously to the Emergency Communications Center and the laptop computers in patrol vehicles. The time of locating a gunshot, which typically takes anywhere between 10-20 minutes, is generally less than one minute with ShotSpotter.

“ShotSpotter has proven to be extremely useful in pinpointing the actual origin of gunshots in Boston, Springfield and a number of other cities across the country,” said Cambridge Police Commissioner Robert C. Haas. “We anticipate that this will be just as valuable as a public safety tool for the Cambridge Police and help expedite our response in the event that there are gunshot incidents, which can result in potentially saving lives, increasing weapon-related arrests, and ultimately enhancing the safety of our neighborhoods.”  

The decision to implement ShotSpotter in Cambridge originated nearly four years ago after the City Council expressed interest and saw great benefits in the technology. A grant application was filed with the Department of Homeland Security through the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI). Recently, the Cambridge Police Department learned that the grant application was approved by UASI, along with the Chelsea, Everett, Revere, and Somerville Police Departments. Additionally, the Boston Police Department’s ongoing program will be expanded. The grant will cover 100 percent of the funding for a two year trial of the technology, which will be deployed in areas that have historically had the highest incidents of gunfire.   

To address any questions that City of Cambridge residents may have regarding the ShotSpotter technology, the Cambridge Police Department will be hosting a live, online Q&A on its Facebook and Twitter pages on Monday, June 16 at 7 p.m. Deputy Superintendent Stephen A. Ahern will join Jeremy Warnick, Director of Communications, and address questions for 60 minutes.



The Cambridge Police Department is committed to the enforcement of laws and preservation of order that protect the rights and property of every person within the City of Cambridge. Our mission is to provide the highest quality of police service and to impact crime, and its associated elements, through the utilization of new and proven crime prevention strategies and problem-solving partnerships with our community.  For more information, follow @CambridgePolice on Twitter, or access the department’s Facebook page at

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