Student Newsroom

U of I police plan to install gunshot noise detectors


One ShotSpotter is located on Prospect Avenue in Champaign, Illinois. University of Illinois police say they plan to install ShotSpotters on campus in the near future to detect gunshots. Elissa Eaton

University of Illinois police are testing out two ShotSpotter systems that will detect gunshot noises, according to officials. 

The ShotSpotters have acoustic sensors that will be able to distinguish a gunshot from a similar noise, such as a firework, said Campus Chief of Police Alice Cary. 

After a gunshot is detected, the coordinates from its location are immediately sent to police officers, she said. 

Similar technology is being used in nearby areas, Cary said. 

“Champaign has the ShotSpotter system up now,” Cary said. “So that's just another layer of technology that we can rely on.” 

ShotSpotter technology will be helpful because it can capture shootings immediately, she said

“It could relay that information to our officers in almost real-time,” Cary said. “Hopefully, we don't have to use it, but at least we have another avenue of technology.”

There have been more mass shootings in the United States than days this year, according to the gun violence archive. 

Many of these shootings have occurred in educational settings, according to K-12 Drive, an education-focused newsroom. 

Students at the U of I have differing perspectives on the installation of the  ShotSpotters. 

Sophia Reyes is a freshman from Chicago. She said she supports the installation of ShotSpotters. 

“I'm used to hearing gunshots,” Reyes said. “It's not out of the blue. With me, it wouldn't really faze me as much, but I can see how it can have a good impact.” 

Sophomore Cameron Marchese said he is skeptical about how helpful the technology will be if an active shooter entered a building. 

“How would that help me if I was in class?” Marchese asked. “It would depend on where the shooter was. If they're only in the building, it doesn't help that much.”

Sophomore Cache Merriweather said she thinks the ShotSpotter will be helpful because it will allow people to immediately know how to handle certain situations. 

“I feel like it's scarier when you don't know what it is,” Merriweather said. “If you know what it is, you can take the right course of action.”