SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and Police Commissioner John Barbieri announced this week that the city’s ShotSpotter system will soon cover more of the Mason Square neighborhood, and Forest Park’s X area.
The system of audio sensors electronically alerts the police to when and where a gun has been fired. The city’s system currently covers six square miles of Springfield.
There have been twelve homicides in Springfield so far this year, and the police department said the ShotSpotter system helps officers find criminals and the evidence to prosecute them. Police commissioner John Barbieri said the ShotSpotter’s near instantaneous notification is an asset in response time.
Ezell Gonzalez told 22News his brother was murdered in Mason Square five years ago. He noted that a few seconds could be all that separates a victim and a survivor.
Gonzalez said, “Who knows, if they could of got there quicker probably he still would have been alive today, so I said the quicker they get there the better it is, cause we can prevent more tragedies. More families from going through the heartache that my family still suffers from till today. Like I said, no holiday will ever be the same.”
Commissioner Barbieri said the city looked at three years of data relating to incidents of shots fired to determine which areas the ShotSpotter would expand to. After a homicide in Mason Square Friday, one resident said the expansion makes him hopeful, but he’s not sure how much it can change.
One Springfield resident, Nathan, told 22News, “They can’t catch everything, you know what I’m saying? They’re not going to catch everything. It’s just how it is. You know, the streets is going to be the streets regardless of what they do, it’s going to be the same. It could help a lot, but every little thing that happen, they’re not going to be able to catch it.”
The mayor has asked the city council approve the transfer of around $185,000 dollars from reserves to the police department in order to fund the increased costs of the the ShotSpotter system expansion.