GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) In 2019, the Greenville Police Department placed a large emphasis on reducing gun violence and violent crimes.
According to a release, violent crime is down in all categories a total of 7%.
Gun violence injuries decreased by 33% city-wide in 2019. This means 14 fewer people were injured by gunfire in 2019 as compared to just a year earlier in 2018.
GPD credits the ShotSpotter program, along with many hours of investigation and pro-active actions by their officers for the gain in public safety.
The ShotSpotter program sends a notification to law enforcement alerting them to when and where a gun is fired.
“Within 30 seconds they’re immediately turning their car in the direction of where the gunfire took place, and responding quickly,” said Mark Holtzman, Chief of the Greenville Police Department.
Only 10% of the city is covered by the system, but that small area encompasses 50% of the gun violence Greenville sees.
“If the bad guys know they can’t fire a gun without impact in one part of the city, then they know they can’t do that in any part of the city. So, it affects behavior,” said Holtzman.
Holtzman said the quicker response time shows residents G.P.D is actively working for them to try and make the community safer.
“In the past, you may ride through the area and the community may not talk to you, but in this case, the community is now talking to us because the officers are stopping,” said Holtzman. “We’re getting out of the car. We’re conducting the search. The community sees that we actually care. We’re really in this to stop the gun violence.”
So far, the system has led to 20 arrests and guns siezed.
86 different investigations have been conducted because of the technology.
The program costs around $200,000 and is paid for by a partnership with other community groups including Vidant Medical Center, Greenville Housing Authority, and East Carolina University.
Community leaders say they notice a difference, and they hope this lets people rest easy.
“Some of these neighborhoods are being woken up by gunfire every single night,” said Holtzman. “They deserve to have more peaceful nights and also a safer community to live in.”