In 2014, there were more than 280,000 police calls for service in the city of St. Louis. A call for service originates when someone calls 911 or a non-emergency or information line, or when an officer on scene reports an incident.

Citywide, by far the most common calls are for reporting disturbances or suspicious persons, but there are also thousands of calls each year related to gunshots and shootings. Using city police data, these charts and maps take a look at gunfire in St. Louis.

The vast majority (about 88 percent) of calls factored into the below gunshot graphics are classified as “shots fired” – and are not an indication that someone was shot or even fired at. The call typically stems from someone calling 911 after hearing or seeing gunfire. A “shooting” call indicates it’s possible someone was shot.

Because there are often multiple calls for the same event, calls are sometimes folded into another event to limit duplication. That being said, the final tally of calls still likely exceeds the number of specific incidents (and suspected incidents) reported. Additionally, someone calling 911 to report gunshots might not know precisely where gunfire took place, so the address or intersection listed in calls for service records might be different from the exact location where shots were fired. A small number of calls are not included in the maps because of incomplete address information.

Shots fired and shootings in 2014

This map excludes calls for service are generated by ShotSpotter, a system that uses microphones in several city neighborhoods to detect the location of gunfire and notify police. As the below map shows, most areas of the city are not covered by ShotSpotter. Both maps do not account for celebratory gunfire on New Year's Eve.

The below map shows instances of gunfire detected by ShotSpotter in the city neighborhoods in which the system is installed. Zoom in for a closer look.

Note: If there are more than five seconds between shots, ShotSpotter will log multiple instances of gunfire. Many ShotSpotter calls are reclassified as “shooting” or “shots fired” or are folded into another call for the same incident, and are not included in this map. Read more about ShotSpotter here.

Walker Moskop is a data specialist and reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.