Chief Holbrook & Mayor Benjamin Unveil ‘ShotSpotter’ to Public

In a news conference this afternoon, City of Columbia Mayor Stephen K. Benjamin and Police Chief W.H. ‘Skip’ Holbrook announced the Columbia Police Department’s (CPD) implementation of an innovative gunshot detection technology that reduces violent gun crime in the City of Columbia.

The technology, known as ‘ShotSpotter’ relies on acoustic sensors to pinpoint where gunfire occurs.

Chief Holbrook: “The area that we defined is based on the where we have the highest concentration of gunfire.  We want to affect that, change that narrative, change the footprint to where we don’t need this initiative.”

The information from the sensors is sent to CPD officers and 9-1-1 dispatchers through real-time digital alerts.

Since the implementation of ShotSpotter in the City of Columbia on April 18, 2019, CPD officers have responded to 131 SpotSpotter alerts/activations; of those 26 resulted in 9-1-1 calls from citizens.

ShotSpotter does not replace residents calling 9-1-1.

ShotSpotter Overview:

  • Utilizes multiple acoustic sensors to pinpoint gunfire activity
  • Sensors strategically placed around City
  • Approximately 20 sensors per square mile
  • Aids in locating crime scene, evidence, suspects & witnesses
  • Quicker response & situational awareness by law enforcement
  • ShotSpotter acoustic analysts review the sounds to determine actual gunfire
  • Acoustic analysts can determine full-automatic weapons & if shooter is on the move
  • Real-Time Alerts for Law Enforcement & 9-1-1 Dispatchers
  • Digital Alerts through ShotSpotter App for smart phones & patrol car computers
  • Utilizes user-friendly maps to pinpoint gunfire activity
  • Time stamps incident & provides audio of gunfire
  • No monitoring of conversations
  • Strengthens court cases
  • Sends message to offenders
  • ShotSpotter does not replace police officers or community involvement & calling 9-1-1
  • Cost over 3 years = $1,180,000 | 1st Year – $400K  | 2nd Year – $390K | 3rd Year – $390K
  • Other cities utilizing ShotSpotter: Oakland & San Diego, Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, Boston, New York City, Pittsburgh and Las Vegas


  • Number of ShotSpotter Calls: 131 (includes incidents at the same address separated by time) Since April 18, 2019 – May 9, 2019
  • Number of Shots Detected: 339
  • Number of Single Shots Detected: 59
  • Number of Firearms Seized: 11
  • Number of Stolen Firearms Seized: 2
  • Number of Shell Casings Recovered: 114 (32 separate crime scenes where casings recovered)
  • Number of National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) Entries: 23 (some calibers not NIBIN compatible)
  • Number of NIBIN Confirmations: 5
  • Number of Arrests: 13 individuals with 21 charges
  • Number of 9-1-1 Calls: Out of the 131 ShotSpotter activations, 26 resulted in 9-1-1 calls from citizens

For more information about ShotSpotter, visit: