New technology aims to stop shooters before they strike

Recent tragedies in Dayton and El Paso have shown that the requirement for active shooter solutions is more urgent than ever

It feels like it has become an almost daily occurrence to switch on the news channels and see footage of yet another mass shooting in the USA. The recent tragedies in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas bring the number of mass shootings in the USA this year to 263. According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been a total of 35,840 gun related incidents in 2019 leading to 9,442 fatalities.

The spectre of gun violence will not be going away any time soon as every shooting encourages civilians to buy even more guns to protect themselves, it is a vicious cycle. Therefore, the spotlight is very firmly focused on security solutions providers to develop a way to protect against this threat.

Spotting the shooter

Identifying the individual actually carrying the weapon within a crowded space can often be the toughest challenge for security teams. However, new technology from Patriot One looks set to make the task a little simpler.

The PATSCAN TMS from Patriot One detects concealed weapons on people and in bags, preventing mass casualty attacks on the general public in high-traffic facilities and venues. The system can identify specific individuals carrying concealed weapons into secured public or private spaces, utilising its array of unique passive sensors.The state-of-the-art technology used in the system was primarily developed for military applications. The targeted capability includes threat localisation, overlaying the threat object position onto an image utilising artificial intelligence. Continuously evolving algorithms are remotely upgradeable to periodically provide new targets and threat objects of interest.

According to Martin Cronin, CEO of Patriot One, the system is being used to protect various hotels in Las Vegas and recent technology developments have meant that the throughput has been increased to 3200 people per hour.

Cronin explained that the solution is ideal for covert deployment which could lead to attackers being caught earlier, before they expected to be scanned. System upgrades are continuously being developed at the company’s facility in Nevada in partnership with Raytheon, IBM and Cisco.

Hearing the shooter

The market for gunshot detection solutions has gone from strength to strength in recent years with a recent report from MarketsandMarkets suggesting that the market is projected to grow from US$564 million in 2019 to US$1,008 million in 2024, at a CAGR of 12.3% during the forecast period.

SST Inc. is a specialist in gunfire detection and location technology. The company has developed ShotSpotter which is now active in around 100 urban areas worldwide and has amassed the world’s largest audio database of gunshots with more than 12 million incidents reviewed.

One version of the solution, ShotSpotter Flex is helping law enforcement agencies in the US by directing police to the precise location of illegal gunfire incidents. The company says that ShotSpotter Flex operates through multiple ‘collaborative’ acoustic sensors placed on buildings or lampposts throughout an area that activate when gunfire occurs outdoors.

There have been concerns raised around the possibility of the technology being used for voice surveillance, but a recent privacy audit found the solution was an “extremely low risk”. The Policing Project’s report also offers several recommendations for actions ShotSpotter could take to make it even more privacy protective and these recommendations have been implemented by the company.

There are, of course, numerous other solutions available in the marketplace to protect against the threat of active shooters. The technologies from Patriot One and SST Inc. are just a taster of what is available, but with the frequency of mass shootings not slowing down, American civilians need all the protection they can get.

This story was originally published in the September issue of International Security Journal.

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