Incidents of gun violence in Omaha began to spike in the mid-2000’s, with nearly 200 victims impacted in these assaults per year.
In 2011, the Omaha Police Department installed 80 ShotSpotter acoustic sensors in a five-squaremile area in the northeast that accounted for roughly half of all gun-related homicides. Total homicides declined, with only 10 murders in the city’s northeast precinct in 2019 – less than half compared to 2011. The number of gun assault victims citywide has dropped from 224 to 99 between 2011 and 2019.
Decrease in gun assault victims between 2011 and 2019
Of ShotSpotter alerts had no 911 calls within 5 minutes
Fewer homicides in 2019 compared to 2011 in city’s northeast precinct
In 2021, the Omaha Police Department’s commitment to public safety showed no signs of slowing down. In March of that year, officers responded to a ShotSpotter alert and observed a silver Jeep Cherokee in the area which appeared to be consistent with 9-1-1 callers’ descriptions of a suspect vehicle involved in the shots fired incident. After collecting shell casings and obtaining additional information from witnesses, officers confirmed that the Jeep Cherokee they observed was, in fact, the correct vehicle.
The following day, an Omaha Police Department gang unit detective stopped the Jeep traveling northbound. After searching the vehicle, officers uncovered PCP, cocaine, 100 pills containing fentanyl, and a firearm. Examination of the firearm revealed that it was the same weapon used during the shots fired call that triggered a ShotSpotter alert. The driver, a repeat offender with multiple prior felony convictions, has been sentenced to federal prison for 450 months for drug and firearm offenses.
[ShotSpotter is] an always present and unbiased source of information for us. We don’t have to rely on people to call 9-1-1.