East Palo Alto, California

Reducing Gun Violence through Offender-Focused Strategies

East Palo Alto Police Badge

Site LE Agency
East Palo Alto Police Department

Site Researcher
Anthony Braga, Ph.D., and Sarah Lawrence, University of California, Berkeley School of Law, Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy

Site Focus
Gun Violence, Technology

SPI Strategy
Hot spot analysis

Site Cohort

Site Profile
Small urban area of 2.51 sq. miles with a population of 28,766

Project Overview

The goal of the East Palo Alto SPI was to evaluate the use of gunshot detection systems technology and address high levels of citywide shooting incidents. The City of East Palo Alto deployed gunshot detection systems citywide at the beginning of 2009, primarily as a rapid response tool. The East Palo Alto SPI aimed to use a place-based policing strategy for investigation, problem-solving, and crime-prevention efforts.

Data Highlight

  • Gunshot Location Detecting System (GLDS) data showed that shooting incidents peaked between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. and identified three chronic hot spots within the city.
  • East Palo Alto SPI ShotSpotter analysis revealed:
  • High rates of false positives decreased.
  • There was no consensus among officers on whether the system results in shorter response times.
  • The East Palo Alto Police Department increasingly used the system as an investigation and prosecution tool.