An audit of the Fort Myers PD, following an eruption of violence during the city’s 2015 Zombicon, concluded the department needed additional intelligence resources for solving gun-related crime in the city.
In 2018, Fort Myers PD introduced SoundThinking’s ShotSpotter gunshot detection system into its newly created high-tech crime center to support real-time intelligence for investigating gun-related violence. The following year, the city recorded a 18 percent drop in homicides compared to 2018, which the police attributed to new technologies including ShotSpotter. The gunshot detection solution also complements the crime center’s video surveillance system by sending alerts to the center that allows personnel to provide actionable intelligence and overwatch of the detection area for responding officers.
Drop in homicides in 2019
Decrease in New Year’s Eve celebratory gunfire incidents in 2019
Decrease in gunfire in ShotSpotter coverage area in 2020
The Fort Myers PD instituted several best practices for officers responding to ShotSpotter alerts. These actions include treating all alerts as in-process violent crime, dispatching cars with code 2 using lights and sirens when necessary, and collecting all shell casings at the scene. In addition, following an incident, officers canvass neighborhoods in person and distribute flyers and door hangers to raise awareness and gather intelligence. These best practices led to a 33% decrease in gunfire in ShotSpotter coverage area in 2020 – a year when gun violence increased by an average of 40% across the U.S.
While most of the country has seen a surge in gun violence in 2020, gunshots in Fort Myers have dropped 33 percent this year thanks to technology like ShotSpotter and our emphasis on best practices when responding to an incident.