ShotSpotter is a cutting edge technological service that is able to detect gunfire in crime-ridden spots across a city, and has resulted in the first official successful conviction of a shooter in Cape Town took place at the Wynberg regional court at the start of June thanks to the help of Shotspotter.

An American owned technological service, ShotSpotter was implemented in Cape Town in 2016 in high crime areas such as Hanover Park and Manenberg.

The new technology identifies the exact location of the gunfire and sends the address to the authorities. The mechanisms are able to identify the location of the gunfire in under 60 seconds. The authorities are immediately alerted in real time and able to track down the shots.

The tools used by the city to convict the accused were comprised of drone footage, CCTV images and video accompanied with ShotSpotter technology. This surveillance technology is making strides in crime detection and gunfire analysis with the recent conviction of Virgil Koopman.

Koopman was found guilty and sentenced to 12 months imprisonment after firing shots in a municipal area of Manenberg in October 2017.

The escalating crime statistics across Cape Town initiated the use of ShotSpotter and Mayoral Committee Member of Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith, mentioned to ShotSpotter that during the initial implementation in 2016, there was an increase in detection and gunfire awareness, “For the month of September, a total of 31 incidents were recorded, down from 128 in August and 211 in July.”


Speaking to Cape Talk, he said, “We look forward to more convictions, with the assistance of the technology that we have at our disposal.”

According to Stats SA, crime levels are slowly declining in South Africa but members of society are still not feeling safe – with the successful use of ShotSpotter it may alleviate the levels of gang violence in Cape Town.


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