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APD creates proactive S.H.O.T program to target gun violence

First-of-its-kind program led to 47% decrease in gunshots in one neighborhood
March 13, 2024

APD launched a new program using data gathered from ShotSpotter technology to proactively address gun violence in Albuquerque neighborhoods. The pilot program led to a 47% decrease in gunshot detections in a Southeast neighborhood.


The S.H.O.T Program, which stands for ShotSpotter Hotspot Organized Tracking, is the first of its kind and was created by APD investigators at the Crime Lab. Through the assistance of the Real Time Crime Center, APD is taking the data beyond what it was initially intended for. The pilot program began in the Southeast Area Command and hotspot areas of concern were identified from a high number of gunshot detections.


“APD is being innovative with ShotSpotter data and utilizing this technology in a way that no other department has attempted,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “We are leveraging investments in technology and working with the community to help keep families safe.”


APD focused on the area near Wisconsin St. and Chico Rd., N.E., where ShotSpotter data showed a high number of gunshots. APD sent a general letter that went to residents in the immediate area who were directly being affected by the frequent gunshots. The letter was meant to let residents know that APD was aware of the concerns and officers are addressing the gun violence.


A separate letter was then sent to locations identified by ShotSpotter where the shots were originating and warned of the consequences of people firing guns. At one of the locations of concern, an arrest was made for an individual with an outstanding warrant for Armed Robbery.


The department also printed 350 signs that are being handed out to individuals that can be placed in yards and in front of homes to urge other neighbors to report gun crimes in the area as a community effort to assist APD.


Follow-up is then conducted by detectives as well as DIVRT (Digital Image and Recovery Team) who canvass the area and look for video evidence/surveillance of gun crimes. The follow-up work identifies ShotSpotter data over time and information such as active warrants, high volume of calls to police, and felony arrests in the area.


With the assistance of Area Commands, the information is dispersed through operations, field briefings, or through ShotSpotter overtime. The objective of the program is to significantly reduce the calls for service and prevent violent offenses from happening.


The program has also led to a collaborative effort with members of the community. Since the pilot program began in the Southeast, residents in both the Northeast and Northwest Area Commands have reached out to the department to provide helpful information on hotspot areas in their neighborhoods. These are neighborhoods where ShotSpotter devices are not in place, but the open communication helps expand the effort.


“Our investigators and command staff have taken the ShotSpotter technology far beyond what it was ever intended to do, said Chief Harold Medina. “Gun crimes are an issue in our community and this is a proactive measure that is also helping build strong relationships with community members to collaborate and cut down gunshots fired in our city.”


APD uses ShotSpotter technology for other proactive measures. At Tower Pond Park, there were many activations in the area. APD installed a mobile surveillance camera at the park, and since ShotSpotter gun shots have declined in the area.


“I advocated for funding for ShotSpotter in the district and throughout the City because this technology is a critical tool for our officers,” said City Councilor Klarissa Peña who represents District 3. “The technology is like a fingerprint for shots fired, it gives officers the data to track those gunshots and react to reduce gun violence in our community.”