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Gunshot Tracking Cameras to be Deployed in LA 480

apok04 writes "Get out your tinfoil hats (and ski masks). A USC engineer uses his expertise with nerve cells to create a surveillance system that can recognize the sound of a nearby gunshot - and identify the shooter. In a unique pilot program, L.A. and Chicago will deploy test units in high-crime areas. The creator emphasizes that the system cannot recognize voices or words, but his previous research into speech recognition systems suggests otherwise."
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Gunshot Tracking Cameras to be Deployed in LA

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  • Response Time (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fembots ( 753724 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2004 @08:11PM (#10969107) Homepage
    The system can then locate, precisely, where the shot was fired, turn a camera to center the shooter in the camera viewfinder and make a 911 call to a central police station.

    If the shooter is still there, she deserves to be caught.

    According to the article, this device is listening for the entire sound pattern of the gunshot, not just the initial explosion, which makes it much less likely to mistake other loud noises for shooting.

    So it may be difficult to fool it unless you can also simulate the whole shooting sequence (think of Matrix's bullet time).

    I guess FPS game developers can use one of these to create realistic gunshot sounds.
  • Re:Response Time (Score:4, Interesting)

    by lordkuri ( 514498 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2004 @08:14PM (#10969152)
    Thing is, this can work both ways... if the police have a "questionable" incident, will the video be availiable to the public? I'm thinking no...
  • Bay Area Scam (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Shadow Wrought ( 586631 ) <shadow,wrought&gmail,com> on Wednesday December 01, 2004 @08:16PM (#10969190) Homepage Journal
    A few years back one of the cities in the Bay Area (I want to say East Palo Alto, but I'm not sure) deployed a system of microphones which would pinpoint the location of a gunshot and then forward that to police.

    As I recall it turned out that the company doing this was closely affiliated with one of the local politicos and the system was basically bunk. I don't remember how it all played out, but maybe someone else out there does?

  • Re:Response Time (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Dorsai65 ( 804760 ) <> on Wednesday December 01, 2004 @08:23PM (#10969253) Homepage Journal

    More likely it depends on the time it takes to slew a camera or three around to point at the source. If they've got 3 cameras per sensor, then each camera would only have to rotate +/- 60 degrees - which doesn't seem like much.

    As for gunshots, I'd wager that it wouldn't take 2 seconds for the system to recognize them. And I'd be willing to bet more on the fact that most gang-bangers are stupid enough to hang around for the few seconds it would take for the system to recognize and lock in on them. I mean, if they had any sense, they wouldn't be gang-bangers, right?

    IF they're going to be setting up a bunch of cameras anyway, then adding this to the lashup might accidentally be a Good Thing, as long as it only works they way they say it does.

  • Why so long? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Easy2RememberNick ( 179395 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2004 @08:25PM (#10969283)
    I remember seeing a system like this years ago. I'm quite sure in the 1980's! Possibly on that Beyond 2000 science show from Australia (we get weird shows here sometimes). I wondered why it was never used it seems like a great invention.

    Why so long to get a system like this produced?

    Put it in Iraq attached to a machine gun, calibrated to shoot at the sound of an AK-47 not an M16. Since it seems to be able to tune out other explosive noises why not refine it ever further to just a certain gun type?

    The device is listening for the entire sound pattern of the gunshot, not just the initial explosion, which makes it much less likely to mistake other loud noises for shooting.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 01, 2004 @09:26PM (#10969904)
    What happens if you shoot the camera?
  • by minion ( 162631 ) on Wednesday December 01, 2004 @10:34PM (#10970421)
    And there you go, knocking it down. Well done, but you failed to actually make a point.

    Actually, I think what the original poster was trying to say is that once a system like that is in place, its uses may "vary" a little from its intital "sold to the public as" message.

    They already said that the designer of this device has worked on speech detection devices as well. Who's to say that after this system is installed, a nice happy firmware upgrade is done, and now the system listens for key words such as: murder, shoot, kill, government, president, etc etc...

    The American people should be up in arms over systems like this, and the red light and speed cameras as well. It encourages abuse of the system and promotes lazy and dishonest law enforcement.

    And do we need an example of dishonest and lazy law enforcement: In the mid 1970s, three women were raped, sodomized and beaten in their home for 14 hours, regardless of the repeated phone calls made to police by the women any chance they got. What did the police department have to say about this: Warren v District of Columbia: "A government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services such as police protection to any particular individual".

    Nice... This is the same government that wants to increase its revenue with speed and red-light cameras, and prevent you from defending yourself with firearms.
  • ObPseudo-Liberal (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02, 2004 @02:19AM (#10971893)
    I suspect there's an organization of trolls that generate this kind of claptrap.

    Unlike you, I actually live in a neighborhood which is affected by gun violence. At this moment, one drug dealer from my block has been murdered, and one is a level A paraplegic (no feeling or movement from the neck down - and good riddance). A number of others have been shot, or shot other people.

    In the current system, criminals have a number of technological resources at their disposal, which most pseudo-liberals ignore:

    cell phones - these make traditional street gangs unnecessary. For instance, nowadays threats like "I can burn your house down with one phone call" (Mr. Paraplegic, above), are more common than traditional turf wars. Police used to have an advantage, with radios vs. landline POTS. This advantage no longer exists - in fact, Police IDEN frequencies are even intermixed with the criminals' Nextel walkie-talkies, making jamming very difficult.

    automobiles - there was a time when one could read the license plates on cars before they hit 60 mph. That time is past. Shoot-and-run in a car is now a major criminal tool. The remedies, gunshot location systems, and neartime video recording, are hardly new ideas - I sketched out a similar system several years ago.

    trauma centers - the old days of "bang bang, you're dead" have been supplanted by endless round-trips to be revived at the taxpayers' expense. It's not uncommon now to arrest people with guns, artificial limbs, and colostomy bags. The ones they can't put back on the street end up as 24-hour care, with their friends going out to do the dirty work.

    guns - handguns now go through most building walls. Assault weapons are available and are easily converted to machine guns.

    police dispatch - this hasn't changed in 100 years. To summon police, one dials a number, waits for an answer, then gives a verbal description of the suspect and the vehicle. At 30 wpm, this amounts to several minutes of descriptive prose before the cops have any idea of who shot who and what color and make of car they drove away in. By that time, the Lexus is 2-3 miles away. The reality is that you can shoot digicam video of your entire family and mail it around the world in the time it takes to get the cops to answer the phone (that's Idea II - dispatch systems that actually take email, cameraphones, and other media).

    Don't think the criminals don't know how f**ked up the current system is. Many just drive around and spend 5 minutes at each location; the cops can't respond in that time frame.

The trouble with the rat-race is that even if you win, you're still a rat. -- Lily Tomlin