According to the Fall River, Mass., newspaper The Herald News, the city’s police department announced it would no longer be using the gunshot detection system ShotSpotter, which covered about three square miles in the Fall River.

The city acknowledged that the system, which is being employed in four other Mass. cities and has been in use in Fall river since 2012, has been successful in other communities but struggled to triangulate the sound waves in the hilly terrain of Fall River.

According to the article, Fall River Deputy Police Chief Al Dupere said the system has never been used as evidence in court and was helpful in only one investigation in which it revealed that more than one gun was involved but didn’t lead to an arrest.

Dupere also reported that of the city’s 51 ShotSpotter activations in 2017, 21 were false alarms, often mistaking backfiring cars and fireworks and other loud noises for gunshots. Dupere also reported the system failed to report gunshots even in neighborhoods where sensors were located. 

The system has an annual cost of $90,000, money Dupere said would be better used to expand the city’s video surveillance system. 

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