Sound Thinking
Law Enforcement

ShotSpotter and Chicago:
Over 5 Years of Protection and Service

of gunfire goes unreported
to 9-1-1
<1 Minute
Time for ShotSpotter to alert authorities
allows first responders to arrive on the scene quickly
saves lives

Police rely on 9-1-1 calls if gunshots are fired, but in neighborhoods plagued by gun violence, only about 20% of incidents are ever reported. This creates a situation where police departments are unable to respond to about 80% of gun violence – making it impossible to effectively “serve and protect.”

For shooting victims, every minute matters – it is estimated that in as little as 3-5 minutes after a gunshot wound, the survival rate for the victim can drop dramatically without assistance.

ShotSpotter picks up picks up where 9-1-1 leaves off by alerting first responders to the 80% of gun violence that they would otherwise know nothing about. In Chicago, we provide the precise location of an incident in less than 60 seconds, allowing first responders to render swifter aid to victims.

What is ShotSpotter?

Police rely on the community to call 9-1-1 if gunshots are fired, but only 20% of incidents are ever reported on average. This creates a situation where police departments have a large data gap that makes it difficult to be able to effectively “serve and protect” when it comes to gun violence. SoundThinking’s ShotSpotter acoustic gunshot detection technology fills the gap with a network of acoustic sensors that can detect, locate, and alert police to nearly all gunshot incidents. The system is in operation in more than 150 cities and is used by police to:

  1. Be able to respond to a higher percentage of gunfire incidents;
  2. Improve response times to crime scenes to better aid victims and find witnesses; and
  3. Help police locate key evidence to identify and investigate suspects. Learn more here.

Chicago residents overwhelmingly support the use of gunshot detection technology.
Poll, May 2022

ShotSpotter and Chicago

SoundThinking, the company behind ShotSpotter, has serviced the Chicago Police Department (CPD) for over five years to more effectively respond to gun violence and help save lives.

We are a mission-driven company dedicated to helping our customers make sound decisions to better protect the communities they serve, including violence reduction and saving lives.

Pastor Donovan Price Founder, Solutions and Resources / Street Pastors

Lives saved
Firearms recovered
Pieces of evidence collected

Source: Chicago Police Dept. testimony, Committee on Budget and Government Operations, 10/21/22

Minutes Matter for Victims

On April 26, 2021, Officers Rhonda Ward and Julius Givens were first on scene in the 8200 block of South Cole Ave. for a ShotSpotter alert.

Officer Ward found a 13-year-old boy shot in the back and abdomen. The officer immediately put the boy in the squad car and drove him to the hospital.

“Stay with me and we’re gonna make this trip together and he trusted us,” Officer Ward said. “Stay with us and he did just that. So he’s a hero too.”

The family told WGN News that the boy and his 14-year-old friend were shot while walking home from a friend’s house.

WGN News reported that at the time of the story the boy was in critical condition, but the family said he was going to be okay.


a man in a tuxedo speaking at a podium
Eddie Johnson
Former Superintendent

“I can tell you unequivocally that the technology and the analysis helps…we caught offenders at the scene several times because of ShotSpotter.”

a man in a suit and red tie
Garry McCarthy
Former Superintendent

“With [ShotSpotter] we’re getting immediate information which gives us an opportunity to intercede with somebody dying.”

a man in a suit and tie posing for a picture
Jody Weis
Former Superintendent
“If you’ve got a system that helps take shooters off the street, why would you want to get rid of it?”

Former Chicago Police Department Superintendents Eddie Johnson, Garry McCarthy and Jody Weis sat down with NBC5 for a candid discussion on the city’s public safety crisis led by Stefan Holt.

a black and white photo of a smiling man
Ralph Clark
President and CEO, SoundThinking

We are immensely proud of the work we have done with the city of Chicago and look forward to further demonstrating ShotSpotter’s value to and in support of Mayor Johnson and his administration. ShotSpotter alerts CPD to gunfire incidents that would otherwise go unreported, helping to save lives and protect residents from unreported gunfire.

SoundThinking is also more than just ShotSpotter. Our Data for Good program helps our partners identify where gunfire and potential trauma may be occurring so the appropriate community resources can be deployed to offer immediate and lasting support to reduce the core issues that drive crime. It’s part of a holistic strategy to engage the community toward positive outcomes.

Ralph Clark
President and CEO, SoundThinking

Show Your Support for a Safer Chicago!

Do you support the continued deployment of ShotSpotter as part of holistic strategy to create safer communities?