The Chicago Police Department will announce Sunday its plan to implement ShotSpotter gunshot detectors in six more of the city’s most violent police districts.
The sensors, along with new “nerve centers” — where officers and civilian analysts decipher crime data and use predictive analytics — will be coming to the Wentworth, Grand Crossing, South Chicago, Calumet, Chicago Lawn and Grand Central districts on the South, Southwest and Northwest sides, according to police officials.
The expansion will begin “imminently,” though there is no official timeline in place, according to department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi.
With the technological upgrades coming to six more districts — in addition to the six districts on the South and West sides already equipped — the CPD will have the most violence-prone parts of the city covered.
Officers will also be provided with in-car computers and cellphones equipped with ShotSpotter technology, which allows them to hear shots in almost real time and see the location of the shots on a map.
As it stands now, the Englewood, Harrison, Austin, Deering, Ogden and Gresham districts are equipped with ShotSpotter and the nerve centers.
Each district’s expansion will cost about $1.5 million and will come from a combination of city and private funds, according to Guglielmi.
While levels of violence in the Englewood and Harrison — two of the most violent in the city — still far outpace the numbers from just four years ago, both districts have seen double-digit drops in murders and nonfatal shootings since the new technology was implemented, according to police records.
In June, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that after the police department expanded ShotSpotter in the Harrison District on the West Side, which includes the city’s most violent police beat of 2016, violence levels sharply rose in the neighboring Ogden District. Ogden has since been equipped with the technology.
Chicago has seen more than 500 murders and about 1,600 nonfatal shootings through late September. That’s a slight improvement from 2016, when the city experienced levels of violence not seen since the mid-1990s, according to city data.