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Impact of ShotSpotter Technology on Firearm Homicides and Arrests Among Large Metropolitan Counties: a Longitudinal Analysis, 1999–2016

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Over the past decade, large urban counties have implemented ShotSpotter, a gun fire detection technology, across the USA. It uses acoustic listening devices to identify discharged firearms’ locations. We examined the effect of ShotSpotter with a pooled, cross-sectional time-series analysis within the 68 large metropolitan counties in the USA from 1999 to 2016. We identified ShotSpotter implementation years through publicly available media. We used a Poisson distribution to model the impact of ShotSpotter on firearm homicides, murder arrests, and weapons arrests. ShotSpotter did not display protective effects for all outcomes. Counties in states with permit-to-purchase firearm laws saw a 15% reduction in firearm homicide incidence rates; counties in states with right-to-carry laws saw a 21% increase in firearm homicide incidence rates. Results suggest that implementing ShotSpotter technology has no significant impact on firearm-related homicides or arrest outcomes. Policy solutions may represent a more cost-effective measure to reduce urban firearm violence.

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  1. Large central metropolitan counties are defined as “…counties in MSA of 1 million population that: 1) contain the entire population of the largest principal city of the MSA, or 2) are completely contained within the largest principal city of the MSA, or 3) contain at least 250,000 residents of any principal city in the MSA.” [29]

  2. We also ran the analysis without interpolated values, and the results are the same.


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Correspondence to Mitchell L. Doucette.

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Doucette, M.L., Green, C., Necci Dineen, J. et al. Impact of ShotSpotter Technology on Firearm Homicides and Arrests Among Large Metropolitan Counties: a Longitudinal Analysis, 1999–2016. J Urban Health 98, 609–621 (2021).

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