WACO, Texas — At the beginning of the year the Waco Police Department introduced a violent crime strategy plan to reduce the number of violent crimes in the city, a part of that plan is installing gunshot detectors.
Sammy Smith, president of the Brook Oaks Neighborhood Association, said the number of gunshots he hears has increased significantly over the last couple of months and he welcomes any solutions to fix the problem. Smith believes gunshot detectors will make a difference in his community and even further.
East Waco had the highest number of gunfire incidents reported between March and September.
Smith said North Waco is not a stranger to it either.
“We’ve had an increase in gunshots fired off during the day, during the night," said Smith. "In the morning times. That’s when we’ve had an uptick of not so much crime."
The Waco Police Department is looking to combat this issue by installing gunshot detectors that would report to police when a suspected shot has been fired and machines that will read license plates in the area where a gunshot is believed to have gone off.
In a statement Waco Police Chief Sheryl Victorian said:
"Once a vendor is chosen and a plan is selected, we will deploy this technology using statistical data related to injuries resulting from gunshots, and discharges with no injuries. Our goals are to promptly apprehend those who intentionally discharge weapons to cause harm and those who recklessly discharge weapons in open areas."
The Associated Press reports that the gunshot detection system costs cities about $95,000 per square mile per year to use. Smith said he would like to know how effective it is once it's installed.
“Give some type of quarterly report to the communities that are going to be affected by this," said Smith. "Let them know this is working well, sort of kind of well or not well at all. But certainly, I would like to see this go forward.”
Chief Victorian also added in the statement that violent crime in the City of Waco is down 4 percent overall in comparison to 2021 and Waco PD we will continue to be proactive in their efforts to keep the communities safe.
The equipment has not been installed yet as the city of Waco and Waco PD are still taking bids on the new tech.