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The Impact of Gunshot Detection Technology on Gun Violence in Kansas City and Chicago: A Multi-Pronged Synthetic Control Evaluation

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2019, $503,129)

This quasi-experimental longitudinal interrupted time series project will evaluate the Gunshot Detection Technology (GDT) systems (ShotSpotter) in Kansas City, MO, and Chicago, IL using a synthetic control group approach to improve comparability. Both cities installed their GDT systems in 2012, which will allow for a comparison of relevant outcome measures in the 7-year post-GDT period (2012 – 2019) to the 7-year pre-GDT period (2005 - 2011). Because of differences in how GDT was deployed in Chicago and Kansas City, the project team will be able to determine the effect associated with the initial deployment of GDT.

Four distinct research questions will be explored for both KCPD and CPD: 1) What effect does GDT have on officer responses to and time spent on gunfire scenes? 2) What effect does GDT have on the collection of ballistic evidence? 3) What effect does GDT have on the occurrence of gun crimes? and 4. What effect does GDT have on criminal investigations (i.e., case closure) of gun crimes?

These research questions are positioned to help inform several key assumptions of ShotSpotter technology and are of growing significance for municipalities moving forward as the promises of such technology to achieve police effectiveness and efficiency gains are largely unexplored in actual police field settings. Specifically, this study involves an in-depth analysis of the potential benefits of GDT technology at each phase of the police response to gunfire incidents: detection and reporting of gunfire events; police activities at gunfire event scenes; evidence collection and forensic analysis; the investigation of gun crimes, and the prevention of gun crimes. This innovative and empirically sound approach has the potential to lead to improvements in the effectiveness of gun-related crime and efficiency in the provision of services.
Note: This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law, and complies with Part 200 Uniform Requirements - 2 CFR 200.210(a)(14). CA/NCF

Date Created: September 13, 2019