Thanks to resourceful Bay Area police, a drive-by shooter who kept moving his location recently discovered that traditional security cameras are no longer hard-wired to infrastructure.
In June of 2016, detectives from San Francisco’s Bay Area Police Department were dealing with five drive-by shootings but had no suspects. The shooter was targeting the drivers of moving vehicles.
The evidence indicated that the shooter had initially acted while on foot but had transitioned to a vehicle and was now operating in an enlarged area with a radius of approximately 10 square miles.
As a result, the detectives felt it was just a matter of time before he would cause a serious injury or fatality. After 10 shootings, not a single witness was able to identify the shooter or his vehicle.
Traditional security systems commonly used by municipalities had failed to locate or identify the suspect.
The security units in the Bay Area were, like most of today’s systems, hard-wired to the electrical grid and could not be moved to cover a larger or different area.
Unique Situation Required Unique Solution
Seeking an innovation approach to the situation, Bay Area detectives reached out to V5 Systems, based on their experience with the company during Super Bowl 50.
Unlike the usual security systems, V5 Systems’ security units can be relocated freely because they are:
- Portable, weighing under 25 lbs per unit
- Self-powered through proprietary solar panels and power management system
- Smart, using edge computing housed directly on the devices and not on a backend server
(See the V5 Acoustic Gunshot Detection System in action, courtesy of V5 Systems and YouTube)
The company has partnered with Dell to feature the Dell 5000 Gateway for edge computing on its platform. Using the Dell Gateway, V5’s units provide 24/7 live HD video streaming and can also be equipped with acoustic and chemical detection sensors.
In addition, the real-time alerts can be sent directly to any smart device via onboard Wi-Fi or cellular communications.
V5 Systems deployment experts, who are ex-police detectives, collaborated with Bay Area detectives and outfitted the Portable Security Units with an HD video sensor and acoustic gunshot sensor.
After the first deployment of the units, the culprit continued to move. But police were able to move the units as well, tightening the net.
(Quickly secure any outdoor area, with a wireless, self-powered security solution – in under 30 minutes. Courtesy of V5 Systems and YouTube)
The Outcome – Police 1, Suspect 10 (10 Years that Is)
The detectives got two breaks in the case. First, V5 Systems’ acoustic gunshot sensor captured an audible signature of the 9th drive-by shooting. By the time police responded to the scene, the suspect was gone from the area.
The second break occurred a few days later. V5 Systems’ video sensor captured an image of the suspect’s vehicle moments before he perpetrated one of the shootings.
Even though it was at night, the video sensor was able to discern very specific characteristics of the suspect’s vehicle.
Based on the HD video of the suspect’s vehicle, the patrol division of the police department spotted the same car a few days later. A chase ensued, which resulted in the suspect crashing his vehicle.
“We know that shooters and other criminals change locations all the time, and it’s vital to have a security system that can be rapidly deployed and then redeployed as needed, not hard-wired and immovable like traditional systems,” said Will Manion, Senior Vice President of the Elements Division of V5 Systems.
The modern combination of dedicated detectives and V5 Systems’ rapidly deployable Portable Security Units, running on the Dell 5000 Gateway, had solved the case and prevented the serious injury or death of innocent civilians.
The suspect is now facing 10 counts of attempted murder.