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Arizona company using artificial intelligence to detect armed threats to combat gun violence

Gun violence archive
Posted at 9:53 PM, May 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-08 01:47:01-04

SCOTTSDALE, AZ — From Chicago to Fort Worth, Grand Rapids to Glendale, gun violence claims lives every day in the U.S.

On May 5 alone, the Gun Violence Archive reported six people were killed by firearms, and as of May 7, the organization documented 183 mass shootings across the U.S. See a map below based on their data showing all mass shootings so far in 2021.

An Arizona company hopes to change that.

"If we could save just one life, it's all worth it," says Defendry founder Pat Sullivan.

Two years ago, Sullivan came up with the idea of using artificial intelligence and existing security camera systems, to detect an armed threat before a shooter gets into a building.

"We trained our AI with hundreds of different weapons, with thousands of hours of footage," says Defendry senior vice president Skyler Stewart.

If the system detects a weapon, the image from the security cameras is immediately sent to an off-site monitoring service where a human verifies the threat.

If it's real, "that immediately kicks off a call to first responders. They stay on the phone feeding them real, accurate information of who, what, when, and where that threat is," explains Stewart.

Simultaneously, the client receives an alert, including pictures, on their phone as well as real-time updates about how soon help will arrive.

Stewart says with high-quality cameras and a larger weapon, the AI can detect a threat from 10 to 50 feet out. The system is also able to instantly lock doors if an alert is triggered.