MAIN STREET CLOSED, IN BOTH DIRECTIONS, BETWEEN UNIVERSITY AND ELMWOOD
Chief: ShotSpotter Will Skew 2014 Crime Stats
Shots fired calls are on the rise, but that doesn't necessarily mean there is actually more gun violence happening in Peoria.
It just means the city's new gunfire detection system, ShotSpotter, has been doing its job since it was installed back in November.
"ShotSpotter brings to light gunfire cases that we never new about," Police Chief Steve Settingsgaard explained, "It's kind of like the tree falling in the forest, and no one was there to hear it."
New data shows only 18% of shots fired incidents are reported in Peoria. While he didn't know the exact reason behind the percentage, Chief Settingsgaard had a some theories.
"People can become immune to the sound of gunfire if they hear it frequently, or they assume someone else is calling it in," he said.
While Peoria enjoyed a dip in shots fired incidents in 2013, 2014 will likely tell a different story now that more shots are being heard by police.
"ShotSpotter gives us a more accurate picture of how often gunfire is occuring, but it gives us a less accurate comparison to pre-ShotSpotter data, because it does skew the numbers," Settingsgaard said.
On average, only about 20% of shots fired are reported nationwide, so Peoria is not much worse off than other urban areas.
Settingsgaard says 2014 will be key in determining how to roll ShotSpotter calls into the overall crime statistics. Once a full year is under the department's belt, it will be able to begin fair comparisons of year-to-year gunfire data.