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Englewood Shootings Down 60 Percent Thanks To New Technology, Police Say

 ShotSpotter is a new system Chicago police are using to help officers pinpoint where shots were fired.
ShotSpotter is a new system Chicago police are using to help officers pinpoint where shots were fired.
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DNAinfo/Andrea V. Watson

ENGLEWOOD — Englewood has seen a 60 percent drop in shootings since the Chicago Police Department rolled out new technology and strategies to help reduce crime, officials said Tuesday.

“This is not a victory lap in any capacity,” said Julienn Kaviar, a spokeswoman for the Mayor’s Office. "But it is important to know we’re doing things. We’re supporting our police officers in giving them the tools and the technology.”

Police Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the department has been using software that calculates where to deploy officers based on a combination of crime data, gunshot detection technology and other information.

In addition, new gunshot sensors and crime cameras that were introduced in the Englewood District last year help alert police about three to four minutes before the first 911 call, Guglielmi said.

The end result is a 60 percent drop in shootings in the district last month, compared with February 2016, "which is really incredible," Kaviar said.

“We’re encouraged by these stats, and we’re going to continue to do everything we can, of course, to continue to move the needle," she said.

Guglielmi called the reduced shootings "early signs of optimism."

“We are seeing positive results and are very proud of the police officers for their persistence and dedication,” he said, adding, “This is not a call for celebration, but a call for further action."

The technology was used last year in the Harrison Police District as well, which along with the Englewood District, were responsible for more than a third of 2016’s violence, police officials said.

The Harrison District saw a nearly 40 percent reduction in shootings compared with shootings in February 2016, police officials said.

“Police work is usually reactionary,” Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said at a news conference last month. But the technology allows officers to rush to shooting scenes as soon gunshots are heard.

“Before, someone would hear gunshots, wait five minutes, then report the call,” he said. “They would give us the area where they think the shots came from. This pinpoints where this shots came from, and we can respond quicker.”

The technology will expand to the Austin and Deering police districts this spring, Kaviar said.

“We are going to ensure our police officers have the best tools, technology and training to do their jobs effectively,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. “Using state-of-the-art technology, our police department can better predict where officers should be deployed and better fight gun violence.”