Sound Thinking
Law Enforcement


Law Enforcement and Communities Can Work Together to Combat Illegal Gunfire During Holiday Period

NEWARK, Calif. – June 28, 2016 – Hot dogs, parades and fireworks are traditional ways Americans choose to celebrate the Fourth of July, but unfortunately the holiday has also become one of the busiest nights of the year for illegal urban gunfire. SST, Inc., the maker of ShotSpotter Flex™, reported that last year the period from the evening of July 3 to the morning of July 5 showed a spike in gunfire incidents.  Celebratory gunfire is a problem in many cities, particularly on July 4th, but with advance planning, law enforcement can prepare better and ultimately prevent gunfire in their cities.  To help communities and law enforcement curb celebratory shooting, SST – the global leader in acoustic gunfire detection – today shared these strategies to help combat illegal urban gunfire on Independence Day.

Celebratory gunfire, a very serious issue, has wounded hundreds and killed dozens in recent years in the U.S. alone.  Deaths and injuries are reported and investigated every year, across the country, when people are struck, often fatally, by gunfire falling back to the ground.  SST, Inc. 2015 data shows that there is increased gunfire activity on July, 3, 4th and 5th in ShotSpotter coverage areas. Over the three days, July 3, 4th and 5th, the average daily amount of gunfire is five times the amount it is for the beginning of the 2015 up to the July 4th holiday.

What can be done to address Celebratory Gunfire

Enforcement Strategies
• Identify hot spot areas and address where celebratory gunfire was detected in previous years.
• Enlist uniformed agency personnel to visit each address on the list and informally talk with residents about illegal gunfire.
• Explain the dangers of celebratory gunfire and tell of first-hand tragedies the local agency might have experienced.
• Remind residents of the criminal consequences of celebratory gunfire including the enforcement of a strict “no tolerance” policy and aggressive prosecution of these cases.
• Assign special police units, or overtime cars, to hot spot areas for quick response to gunfire alerts.
• Leverage social media and local celebrities to get the word out to the community and to educate them on the dangers of celebratory gunfire and your police department’s zero tolerance policy.

Community Engagement Strategies
• Engage community and community leaders to be aware of the dangers of celebratory gunfire and encourage them to report all incidents.
• Increase police and special unit presence showing community that law enforcement is serious about curbing gunfire, which in turn helps alert the community to proactive enforcing.
• Encourage media to report about the dangers of celebratory gunfire and educate their audiences that this year law enforcement will take an active role to catch and prosecute offenders.
• Consider working with respected community leaders to publicly talk about the dangers of illegal gunfire, with the media, before July 4th.

SST/ShotSpotter has found that when law enforcement agencies implement steps to curtail celebratory gunfire, they have been effective in reducing incidents. Using ShotSpotter as part of a comprehensive plan to combat this dangerous trend in cities, law enforcement teams in Baton Rouge, La; East Palo Alto, Calif.; and Kansas City, Mo. have all reported significant reductions of celebratory gunfire from 2014 to 2015.  Baton Rouge reduced celebratory gunfire incidents by nearly 34 percent, from 59 incidents to 42; East Palo Alto saw a 35 percent decrease from 14 to 10; and Kansas City dropped 35 percent from 42 to 30. Effective actions that they implemented included innovative policing strategies, community engagement and the deployment of ShotSpotter. 

“Fourth of July fireworks can be an exciting part of the holiday celebration, but events can quickly deteriorate when celebratory gunfire is involved. Every year these “stray” bullets injure and sometimes kill innocent people,” said Ralph Clark, CEO of SST. “We have worked with numerous law enforcement agencies and local communities to help implement gunfire reduction strategies specifically around the holidays and we hope sharing that information can help make cities across the U.S. safer this year.” 

Celebratory Gunfire Prevention Resources
SST encourages agencies to leverage the online Celebratory Gunfire resource kit to help prepare law enforcement for, and reduce celebratory gunfire on July 4th.  This kit includes templates, tips and resources on how to increase community awareness, engagement, identify hotspots and areas of high gunfire to better manage resources, and implement proactive policing policies.  And, highlights of the recent Celebratory Gunfire Prevention webinar are available here:

About SST, Inc.
SST, Inc. is the global leader in gunfire detection solutions. SST’s ShotSpotter Flex™ is the leading gunfire alert and analysis solution for detecting gunshots and providing critical intelligence to give law enforcement agencies the detailed real-time data needed to investigate, analyze and prosecute gun related crimes.  SST’s ShotSpotter SiteSecure provides critical outdoor infrastructure protection against active shooter events. The company’s deep domain experience, intellectual property including 33 issued patents, along with cumulative agency best practice experience, enables measurable outcomes that contribute to reducing gun violence. SST is a proven solution provider with more than 90 installations across the United States and the world. Privately held, the company has two decades of innovation in the area of acoustic gunshot location technology.  Details can be found at  Details about our U.S. and foreign patents can be found at      

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Media Contact:  Lisa Hendrickson (516) 767-8390, ShotSpotter