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Cape Town - Hanover Park will become the first township in Cape Town to pilot a detection system to alert police when gunshots are fired.

ShotSpotter, to be linked to the city’s emergency centre in Goodwood, is used by US and other international police agencies to combat gun violence in urban areas.

The system uses radio waves and can detect a gunshot’s location to an accuracy of 2m.

It alerts a control room and supplies it with information on how many shots were fired, the type of weapon, as well as the timing of the shots, according to the ShotSpotter website.

Sensors designed to detect only loud explosive sounds are placed in elevated locations, the website says.

Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said: “The system not only informs the police immediately of the incident, but also helps gather forensic evidence.”

Smith said Hanover Park had been chosen for the pilot because it was one of the smallest townships, but had one of the highest population densities in the city.

“Hanover Park has also experienced 86 murders over the past three years with a zero conviction rate,” he added.

The test system was being installed and should be ready by July.

“If ShotSpotter proves successful, a budget would be drawn up for the next financial year to purchase the system and expand it to other areas.”

Cape Times