RICHMOND -- Those looking to celebrate the nation's birthday with a bang this year might wind up with police converging on their position within minutes.

The Richmond Police Department announced Monday that it will deploy patrol officers in specific areas of the city, ready to respond to sophisticated gunshot audio detection data that pinpoint the site of firearm discharges.

The city's ShotSpotter system -- originally developed to triangulate gunfire locations in war zones -- provides immediate gunshot location data to police. Officers will respond to all system activations, police say, and will arrest anyone caught discharging a firearm in public.

The system is capable of discerning between gunshots and fireworks, said Lt. Andre Hill.

"The censors are calibrated to recognize the acoustics of gunfire," Hill said.

Hill said celebratory gunfire has been down dramatically in recent years, but police want to discourage it even further.

Extra patrols will be stationed in undisclosed areas around the city that have historically been gunfire hot spots on the Fourth of July holiday.

Contact Robert Rogers at 510-262-2726 or rrogers@bayareanewsgroup.com and follow Twitter.com/roberthrogers



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