Chicago pairing surveillance cameras with gunshot recognition systems


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Desertdog
June 26, 2005, 10:18 PM
Isn't Chicago another one of the places where firearms are NOT allowed? If so, then this is a total waste of money; after all eveybody obeys the laws :rolleyes:

Chicago pairing surveillance cameras with gunshot recognition systems
June 26, 2005 — The police are watching. And in Chicago, they're listening, too.
http://abclocal.go.com/wls/news/print_062605_ap_ns_gunshot-recog.html

City officials are using new technology that recognizes the sound of a gunshot within a two-block radius, pinpoints the source, turns a surveillance camera toward the shooter and places a 911 call. Officials can then track the shooter and dispatch officers to the scene.

Welcome to crime-fighting in the 21st century.

"Instead of just having eyes, you have the advantage of both eyes and ears," said Bryan Baker, chief executive officer of Safety Dynamics in Oak Brook, which makes the systems.

After a successful pilot program, Chicago officials have installed 30 of the devices alongside video surveillance cameras in high-crime neighborhoods, with 12 more on the way, and dozens more to follow, Baker said.

The system's formal name is Smart Sensor Enabled Neural Threat Recognition and Identification -- or SENTRI. And the technology is not just gaining favor in Chicago.

In Los Angeles County, the sheriff's department plans to deploy 20 units in a pilot test, and officials in Tijuana, Mexico, recently bought 353 units, Baker said. Police in Philadelphia and San Francisco are close to launching test programs of their own, and New Orleans and Atlanta have also made inquiries.

Safety Dynamics also works with the U.S. Army and Navy, developing projects that could detect a range of sounds like diesel trucks slowing in an unexpected location or breaking glass, Baker said. On Tuesday, a military contractor in Iraq responsible for detecting explosive devices contacted the company about mounting systems on vehicles that carry U.S. military personnel.

"They want to put 20 of them on Humvees to be able to detect gunshots," Baker said. "The soldiers, they're getting shot at, but they don't know where the shots are coming from."

In Chicago, police hope the gunshot detection systems will add momentum to a technology-fueled crackdown on guns and gang violence. The city in 2004 reduced its homicide rate to its lowest level since 1965 and police seized 10,000 guns -- successes that were in large part credited to a network of "pods," or remote-controlled cameras that can rotate 360 degrees and feed video directly to squad-car laptops. The SENTRI systems are an addition to that network.

"They have been extremely successful," said Monique Bond, spokeswoman for the Chicago Office of Emergency Management. "We've been able to see the benefits that cameras and advanced technology bring to the community."

The American Civil Liberties Union in Illinois said it is somewhat concerned about privacy rights being violated because the city's camera system is so prevalent.

Spokesman Ed Yohnka said officers need to be properly trained in monitoring the cameras and only record activity in public spaces, such as sidewalks and streets.

"That it could someday gravitate toward the violation of individual rights, that applies no matter what system it is, including these," Yohnka said of the pods with the sound detection systems.

As long as the cameras and SENTRI system are set up in public spaces, they do not violate the law, said Northwestern University School of Law professor Robert W. Bennett.

"You don't have much in the way of privacy issues when you're in a public area," Bennett said.

And local officials said it's hard to argue with the results.

"The crime rates in Chicago are the lowest in 40 years. The price of keeping the community safe far outweighs civil liberty issues," Bond said.

Baker stresses that Chicago SENTRI are only programmed to recognize gunshots, not record conversations or "bug" private homes.

"The microphones can't be used for listening, there's no mechanism for other sounds like human voices," he said.

SENTRI is the brainchild of Safety Dynamics and Dr. Theodore Berger, director of the Center for Neural Engineering at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

Each SENTRI contains a library of acoustical patterns, or "sound signatures," which Berger developed over several years.

Four microphones in the system differentiate gunshots from other noises like traffic and construction by measuring the unique decibel level of a bullet being shot out of a gun, and comparing the sound to its library. That way, a gunshot would activate the system, but a siren or a car backfiring would not, Baker said.

"We take recordings of the target sound and you take as many different recordings as you can from as many different types of scenarios as you can," he said. "But it's a little bit like fingerprinting. The more precise the sound we get, the greater the possibility that we eliminate some potential gunshots."

Adding the SENTRI to an existing surveillance camera is not cheap. The system costs between $4,000 and $10,000 per unit, but in Chicago they and the accompanying cameras are paid for with forfeiture money.

Police Superintendent Phil Cline told an audience at a recent U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting, "the drug dealers are actually paying to surveil themselves." -

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Standing Wolf
June 26, 2005, 10:28 PM
Instead of just having eyes, you have the advantage of both eyes and ears...

Maybe so, but the "brain" of the so-called "criminal justice system" just turns the criminals loose to commit more crimes. Why bother?

onerifle
June 26, 2005, 10:47 PM
"The crime rates in Chicago are the lowest in 40 years. The price of keeping the community safe far outweighs civil liberty issues," Bond said.

This would make a really good script for a Stallone movie. Oh wait a minute- they already made it- and it was awful... :rolleyes:

(threads merged)

Pilgrim
June 26, 2005, 11:02 PM
Looks like a good way to set up an ambush.

Pilgrim

rick_reno
June 26, 2005, 11:04 PM
Isn't gun ownership and use restricted in Chicago? Why do they need this?

Flyboy
June 26, 2005, 11:10 PM
Adding the SENTRI to an existing surveillance camera is not cheap. The system costs between $4,000 and $10,000 per unit, but in Chicago they and the accompanying cameras are paid for with forfeiture money.

Police Superintendent Phil Cline told an audience at a recent U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting, "the drug dealers are actually paying to surveil themselves."
The drug dealers, and anybody else the police decide to steal from.

tyme
June 27, 2005, 01:50 AM
If video and audio surveillance is effective, criminals will disable the cameras and microphones. How many broken $10k gadgets will it take for the city of Chicago to call the whole thing off?

It doesn't matter if they encase the thing in thick lexan with steel on the top. The criminals will eventually figure out how to make thermite. They can just put it on top of the gadget, light it, and be long gone by the time it's burnt through the camera and LE is aware of the sabotage.

The trouble would be getting a thermite bomb on top of such a gadget. Paintball guns would be much more feasible and cost-effective countermeasures. Isn't that how people disable the big brother cameras in Britain?

As for gunshots, criminals could drive police crazy with false positives by routinely setting off fireworks or something else that sounds sufficiently like a gun to fool the police. An organized group like a gang could set them off all around the city specifically as a diversion when there's about to be a shooting.

Joejojoba111
June 27, 2005, 02:03 AM
Lol that would sort-of make them accidental patriots, doing a civic duty for the wrong reasons! Lol!

P.S.
Very much against surveillance of the public in general, very much disagree with those to implement or support it. I only wish there was some way to ask the masses if they were in favor of this, perhaps with pieces of paper and they could mark down their opinon, and maybe drop it in a box, and then count those in favor versus those against...

dustind
June 27, 2005, 06:25 AM
I believe the listening devices listen for sonic booms. Maybe a whip with a little metal wire on the end could fool the equipment? There has to be lots of things that sound similar.

NukemJim
June 27, 2005, 06:35 AM
A interesting little tidbit related to this system.

When the first article about this system appeared it stated that the system did not use the sound of the gunshots but rather the "sonic boom" from the bullett breaking the sound barrier. I looked up on line some similar systems used by the military and that was how they worked as well.

I wonder if they changed the system.

NukemJim

Combat-wombat
June 27, 2005, 06:51 AM
If I lived in Chicago, you can be sure I'd be obtaining some thermite, a blowtorch, and some magnesium ribbon right now.

dolanp
June 27, 2005, 08:59 AM
The price of keeping the community safe far outweighs civil liberty issues

And Ben Franklin turns over in his grave...

Sounds like a prime candidate for function creep.

dev_null
June 27, 2005, 09:52 AM
http://www.libertybookshop.us/mall/The-Black-Arrow.htm

Dirty Bob
June 27, 2005, 12:26 PM
WIRED Magazine did a recent article on the system:

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.05/crime.html

Scary stuff!

Regards,
Dirty Bob

Wayne D
June 27, 2005, 01:05 PM
This would make a really good script for a Stallone movie. Oh wait a minute- they already made it- and it was awful...

Actually, I enjoyed “Demolition Man”. I mean the action parts sucked, like in most Stallone movies, but they did a good job of poking fun at the socialist utopia that seems to be the dream of so many today.

Crosshair
June 27, 2005, 01:46 PM
I guess gangs that are worried about this are going to start using .45s now. Or driving "decoy cars" that backfire alot, or light off fireworks at all hours of the night, or practice with their bullwhips, or get good with a paintball gun, or learn how to aim :uhoh: and simply shoot out the cameras.........

Basicly, criminals have nothing to worry about if they plan ahead by 30 seconds. :banghead:

Joejojoba111
June 27, 2005, 03:43 PM
Cameras and microphones on every street corner is just wrong! It's WRONG.

It's the sort of scary story my mother told me about the Soviet Union, why one wouldn't want to live there. How long until the police are dispatched to a street corner because too many people gathered there, possibly conspiring.???

It's BS and it's those that do it aren't doing it FOR the people or WITH the people, theyre doing it AGAINST the people. You have a referendum on Flouride in the water, but not for a giant police and state-run video and audio surveillance of all public places??? They are doing this without democracy, and they're doing it against freedom. Want to see scary men? There they are.


BTW - I'm going way out on a limb here, but who the fk really believes the microphones only hear gunshots??? Some saying they hear the gunshot, some saying they hear the sonic-boom, common sense saying that they're microphones that hear and record everything, and perhaps red-flag gunshot sounds for further investigation.

ITs BS and it's IMMORAL and I would get the hell out of Chicaogo rather than live in some Orwellian BS.

DRZinn
June 27, 2005, 05:27 PM
"The microphones can't be used for listening, there's no mechanism for other sounds like human voices," he said. Yet.

Car Knocker
June 27, 2005, 06:19 PM
I predict a strong market for illegal silencers in Chicago in the near future.

brian roberts
June 27, 2005, 06:51 PM
well now, how about your car, with a REALLY nice sound system, & you burn a CD with some rapid-fire shots, maybe even some machine-gun sounds. wouldn't it be NEATO to drive by(drive-by??)one of these emplacements & cut loose some sounds???? probably need a speaker you can hang out the window. how about one of the high-powered airguns the PCP(pre-charged pneumatics) to open fire on the cameras & listeners, etc.???? put the ball back in the other court, for a change. :cool:

Joejojoba111
June 27, 2005, 07:51 PM
But there is also a camera - and they will arrest you - and you will lose any other rights you still have, like firearms ownership and voting. Like it matters.

Seriously when the police force these BS systems on people and specifically make sure it's not voted on, those police need to be tried as enemies of the state.

Standing Wolf
June 27, 2005, 08:19 PM
Cameras and microphones on every street corner is just wrong! It's WRONG.
It's the sort of scary story my mother told me about the Soviet Union...

There are plenty people in our nation who'd be glad—delighted!—to turn the United States into a larger, somewhat more prosperous East Germany.

Logistics
June 27, 2005, 10:26 PM
ONLY in such a blue state where groupthink is SO prevalant would anyone ever venture to think that this would actually work. What a *complete* waste of money / time / energy on the police states part.

Next it will be a microphone in everyones house..... :cuss:

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