DURHAM. N.C. (WNCN) — The Durham Police Department hopes ShotSpotter will help officers quickly respond to gunfire. The sensors pick up gunshots and automatically alert officers.

CBS 17 has learned police did not receive automatic ShotSpotter alerts in two deadly shootings, in less than two weeks, that happened inside ShotSpotter’s three-mile radius.

A spokesperson for the Durham Police Department said police did not receive an alert in Thursday morning’s deadly shooting on Park Ave. or Feb. 5’s deadly shooting at Fay and Juniper Streets.

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The spokesperson said they have been in contact with ShotSpotter representatives and that ShotSpotter’s engineers are going to look into both incidents.

The City Council approved the $197,500 one-year pilot program. It launched in December.

“Any specific data point where we miss something is bothersome and disturbing, but we have to keep in mind that this is a piece of technology. My cell phone dropped a call last week, I’m not throwing my cell phone out,” said Durham Mayor Pro-Tem Mark-Anthony Middleton.

Middleton said it’s too early to draw any conclusions from the incidents where police did not receive an alert.

“We are two months into a 12-month pilot, so it’s a bit early. I think it’s important that we to look at all of the data,” Middleton said.

ShotSpotter sends the Durham Police Department monthly gunfire reports.

According to its January report, ShotSpotter sent Durham Police 197 alerts that month. Most of those alerts were for multiple gunshot incidents. The sensors detected 998 rounds fired, according to the report.

The company said no one was available for an interview to discuss the Park Ave. shooting and provided the following statement:

“We are sending our deepest condolences to the community impacted by the recent shooting that took place in Durham, NC. We have investigated the situation and provided a report to the Durham Police Department.”


CBS 17 asked what the report found, and if the company is working on any of the sensors.

ShotSpotter said it has no additional comment.

In January, the Durham Police Department said ShotSpotter did not alert them about a drive-by shooting at the Subway on North Miami Boulevard on New Year’s Day. Five people were shot and injured.

At ShotSpotter information sessions with the Durham community, representatives said the company has a guarantee that 90% of the time, once gunfire is detected, police would be notified within 60 seconds.