Stockholm police hope to speed up their response times with the help of special microphones. Due to be installed next year, they will be able to detect and report sounds of shooting or screams as the country experiences its peak crime rates this decade.

The new microphones will become an addition to surveillance cameras already dotting the Järva area near the Swedish capital. Linked to a management center, the hidden microphones will be set to detect shooting, explosions, glass shaterring and screams, says the police officer in charge of camera surveillance, Joakim Söderström, cited by SVT Nyheter.

Once it detects a relevant noise, the microphone sends a signal to a police center. Following the alert, police officers in the area will receive a text message or an email. “If we can be in place just a few minutes earlier, it’s enough to save someone’s life,” Söderström explained.

“I know that the New York police have long been using microphones successfully. But this is the first time a police authority in Sweden gets permission, from what I know,” he said. While the microphones will capture the sounds of crime, they won’t be able to record conversations, Söderström said.

The officer pinned hopes the measure will spread to other districts, should it prove successful in Järva, where the microphones are due to be installed sometime next year.
A recent governmental survey says the number of crimes such as sexual assault or mugging are at their highest for more than a decade in Sweden. Some 15.6 percent of the Swedish population are estimated to have fallen victim to a crime in 2016.

Last week, the Stockholm County Administrative Board extended its permission for police to use cameras to slash crime in districts of Husby, Rinkeby and Tensta for another five years. The three suburbs have been described as especially vulnerable areas in a police report from 2017 due to a volatile social situation and significant criminal presence. Media reports often dub them “no-go zones.”

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