Virginia Beach businesses weigh in on new ShotSpotter technology; Police test technology

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Posted at 8:57 PM, Jul 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-21 23:01:47-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - For the last seven months, Vy Do has had her boutique, Pixelated Boutique, on 17th Street near the Oceanfront.

“We’re just super excited to be here,” Do said. “It still feels like a dream, but it’s finally a reality.”

Safety is of the things top of mind for her and her employees.

“Being in this area, we hear a lot about gun violence,” she said. “My employees, or even me, we’re afraid to be here in the shop by ourselves.”

She told News 3 that at one point this summer, someone came in and threatened one of her workers.

“He came in, kind of just threw all of our stuff around, threw our stuff on the floor, and my employees heard, ‘Kill,’ so she was very threatened. She was very scared.”

Do, however, is relieved to hear of a new technology being implemented around her store and the rest of the Virginia Beach Oceanfront - ShotSpotter.

“It allows us to be laser-focused, reduce our harm in the community and hold those individuals involved in gun violence accountable,” VBPD Chief Paul Neudigate told News 3.

Recently, News 3 sat down with Neudigate to talk about the group of sensors measuring gunshots, pinpointing their exact location and notifying officers within seconds of incidents in the two square-mile coverage area.

“We hear a lot of talk in the community that there’s continual gunfire at the Oceanfront,” Neudigate said. “Well, now we’ll have proven data to show whether that’s accurate or not.”

This week, police sent a message out saying they'd be testing the technology Wednesday night, "to calibrate and maintain effective sensor response."

“This is going to be great for small businesses,” Do said.

For Do, she's excited for it.

“When customers feel safer and tourists feel safer coming to this area, we’re gaining a lot of business as a city and as a small business,” she said.

She believes it will give her and others more peace of mind in the resort area.

“If this technology could report to police immediately, it would get resolved quicker,” Do said. “This will be effective for the future.”