Evaluating Gunshot Detection Technology (GDT) to Aid in the Reduction of Firearms Violence, United States, 2006-2016 (ICPSR 37448)
Version Date: May 30, 2023 View help for published
Summary View help for Summary
In 2015, the National Institute of Justice funded the Urban Institute's Evaluation of Gunshot Detection Technology to Aid in the Reduction of Firearms Violence. This project was designed to investigate the degree to which gunshot detection technology (GDT) aids in the response, investigation, and prevention of firearms violence and related crimes. The goal of this study was to conduct a rigorous process and impact evaluation of GDT to inform policing researchers and practitioners about the impact GDT may have. To achieve this goal, the research team implemented a mixed-methods research design with police departments in Denver, Colorado; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Richmond, California.
Quantitative data collection included administrative data on calls for service (CFS), crime, and GDT alerts, as well as comprehensive case file reviews of 174 crimes involving a firearm. Quantitative analyses examined the impact of GDT by (1) comparing counts of gunshot notifications for GDT alerts to shooting-related CFS, (2) comparing response times of GDT alerts to shooting-related CFS, (3) examining the impact GDT has had on CFS and crimes, and (4) conducting a cost-benefit analysis of the GDT. Qualitative data collection included 46 interviews with criminal justice stakeholders to learn implementation processes and challenges associated with its GDT, and 6 focus groups with 49 community members to learn how residents feel about policing efforts to reduce firearm violence and its use of GDT.
Three types of files were uploaded for each site. They include quantitative data on crimes and CFS (DS1-DS3), gunshot notifications (DS4-DS6), and response times (DS7-DS9). The qualitative data are not currently available as part of this collection.
Citation View help for Citation
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Subject Terms View help for Subject Terms
Geographic Coverage View help for Geographic Coverage
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Restrictions View help for Restrictions
Access to these data is restricted. Users interested in obtaining these data must complete a Restricted Data Use Agreement, specify the reason for the request, and obtain IRB approval or notice of exemption for their research.
Distributor(s) View help for Distributor(s)
Time Period(s) View help for Time Period(s)
Date of Collection View help for Date of Collection
Data Collection Notes View help for Data Collection Notes
The collection includes a zipped package available with restricted access that contains 14 Stata syntax files. Please see the Secondary Data Analyst's User's Guide and ICPSR README for Stata Syntax Files for additional information.
The qualitative data collected for this study are not available as part of the data collection at this time.
Study Purpose View help for Study Purpose
The goal of this study was to conduct a rigorous process and impact evaluation to inform policing researchers and practitioners about the impact gunshot detection technology (GDT) may have. To achieve this goal, the research team implemented a mixed-methods research design with the Denver, Colorado; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Richmond, California police departments.
Study Design View help for Study Design
The three study sites vary considerably in terms of size, geographic location, and demographics. Denver first deployed GDT in January 2015. The department added two additional coverage areas in April 2016 and September 2016, resulting in GDT sensors covering 11.54 square miles of the city. The data associated with the two GDT coverage expansions occurred late in the study and were therefore not included in the evaluation. Milwaukee first deployed its GDT in February 2011, with two subsequent expansion periods. The city's GDT covered a total of 12.68 square miles once these expansions were complete. Richmond was an early adopter of GDT, deploying the technology in June 2009. Six months later, in January 2010, the department added additional sensors, expanding the original area and adding a second coverage area within the city, which resulted in a total coverage of 5.69 square miles.
The research team worked closely with the partnering departments to collect robust data associated with firearm violence strategies and GDT programs. Qualitative data collection included 46 interviews with criminal justice stakeholders to learn implementation processes and challenges associated with its GDT, and 6 focus groups with 49 community members to learn how residents feel about policing efforts to reduce firearm violence and its use of GDT. Quantitative data collection included administrative data on calls for service (CFS), crime, and GDT alerts, as well as comprehensive case file reviews of 174 crimes involving a firearm. Quantitative analyses examined the impact of GDT by (1) comparing counts of gunshot notifications for GDT alerts to shooting-related CFS, (2) comparing response times of GDT alerts to shooting-related CFS, (3) examining the impact GDT has had on CFS and crimes, and (4) conducting a cost-benefit analysis of the GDT.
Case file reviews: Of the case files reviewed, the research team requested partner agencies to randomly select half to be of firearm-related incidents that occurred before the implementation of GDT and the other half of incidents that occurred after implementation; all cases represented types of offenses likely to be associated with firearms use: weapon violation, robbery, aggravated assault, and homicide.
Stakeholder interviews: Semi-structured interviews with law enforcement stakeholders, civilian employees, and staff from each city prosecutor's office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives were conducted over a period of 9 months, from November 2016 through July 2017. The interviews covered issues on planning GDT implementation, acquisition, installation and monitoring, policies and procedures, training, use on the ground and investigations, and perceived value and impact of GDT. Note that stakeholder interview data are not available as part of the collection at this time.
Community focus groups: Two 90-minute focus groups were conducted with community members within each site, one inside the GDT coverage area and one outside the coverage area; although neither group knew the exact coverage of GDT in their city. The research team recruited participants in partnership with local community-based organizations to take part in the focus group. Participants had to live in the neighborhood and be 18 years or older. Participation averaged 8.2 people per focus group, and recruiting efforts attracted groups ranging in racial/ethnic identity, age, socioeconomic background, and number of years living in the community. Participants received $50 for their time and insights on how their police department responds to firearm-related crime and to assess knowledge of the presence, purpose, and use of GDT. Note that focus group data are not available as part of the collection at this time.
Time Method View help for Time Method
Universe View help for Universe
Crime, calls for service, and gunshot detection technology alerts from Denver, Milwaukee, and Richmond, CA from 2006-2016.
Unit(s) of Observation View help for Unit(s) of Observation
Data Source View help for Data Source
Please refer to the Secondary Data Analyst's User's Guide for information on data sources used in this study.
Data Type(s) View help for Data Type(s)
Mode of Data Collection View help for Mode of Data Collection
Response Rates View help for Response Rates
Presence of Common Scales View help for Presence of Common Scales
Original Release Date View help for Original Release Date
Version History View help for Version History
2023-05-30 ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:
- Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.
The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.