Sound Thinking
Law Enforcement

ShotSpotter and Oakland:
Over 10 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 Oakland, we provide the precise location of an incident in less than 60 seconds, allowing first responders to render swifter aid to victims.


a man in a police uniform is looking at the camera
Tony Jones
Captain, OPD Ceasefire Division

The fact that police can get to people and get them help – almost a hundred people – when no one even knew that they had been shot, except the person that did it obviously, that’s the strongest data point going that justifies why we need something like that.

Tony Jones
Captain, OPD Ceasefire Division

What is ShotSpotter?

ShotSpotter is a gunshot detection system that provides near real-time alerts to law enforcement when a shot is fired. It also provides a precise GPS location for officers to respond to and render aid as necessary.

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 in less than one minute.

The system is in operation in more than 150 cities and is used by police to:

  1. 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.


US adults support the use of gunshot detection technology by law enforcement.
Morning Consult Poll, 2021

ShotSpotter and Oakland

SoundThinking, the company behind ShotSpotter, has serviced the Oakland Police Department (OPD) and the people of Oakland for over ten 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.

According to public comment, in 2020:

> 100
Lives saved*
> 6,000
Unique gunshot incidents detected*
Of incidents NOT called in*
Firearm-related cases*

Source: City of Oakland, Privacy Advisory Commission, 6/9/21

Minutes Matter for Victims

October 21, 2021 – former Oakland Police Captain, Ersie Joyner, was shot while pumping gas at the Chevron station at 17th and Castro streets in the middle of the afternoon.

Joyner endured 22 gunshot wounds, and in the critical moments while he laid on the ground at the gas station bleeding out, not a single onlooker called 911 for help. First responders were notified of the shooting by a ShotSpotter alert.

“I tell people all the time there are five things that kept me alive and have me here right now today and those five things in this particular order are: God, ShotSpotter, the Oakland Police Department, Highland [Hospital] staff, and love and prayers.”
– Ersie Joyner, Former Oakland Police Captain

Source: KVTU FOX 2

ShotSpotter in Action in Oakland

How fast first responders get to the scene may mean the difference between life and death.

VOA-TEK researched the impact of ShotSpotter technology in Oakland for Voice of America (VOA-TEK). She even joined Captain William Febel on an overnight patrol ride-around (known as ”the dogwatch”).

As Captain Febel explains, “When you see it in action, you could really see its potential and the difference that it makes everyday in our efforts to reduce the level of violent crime, and equally important, to reduce the fear of violence among our community.”

“I think [ShotSpotter] is extremely effective. In the years that I’ve been working here, I know for a fact that it’s saved many lives.”

Captain William Febel

“People should be able to go outside their homes without the fear of being victimized by a shooting.”

Captain William Febel


“Ceasefire Oakland is a partnership-based, data-driven strategy for reducing gang and group-related shootings and homicides. We use acoustic gunshot data as part of an intelligence-led strategy to determine what’s driving our community violence in the early stages and who to talk to.

“Impact players,” as we call them, are folks who might be drivers or victims of drawing violence in communities. Using direct, respectful communication, we talk to them first to try to stop the violence, whether they are attracting or perpetrating the violence.

And we offer them services if they want to make a slight change in their behavior, that will further change the trajectory of their life. It might include accepting services through our Department of Violence Prevention or engaging with a life coach. That is all part of the structure of preventing violence.”

Reverend Damita Davis-Howard
Ceasefire Oakland
a black and white photo of a smiling man
Ralph Clark
President and CEO, SoundThinking

As a proud resident, who was born and raised here, I am immensely proud of the work we have done with the city of Oakland over the past decade. ShotSpotter alerts OPD to gunfire incidents that would otherwise go unreported, helping to save lives and protect residents from unreported gunfire.

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 Oakland!

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