Whether implementing a regional or agencywide preventive crime gun strategy, the establishment of formal policies is a critical factor that must be addressed. These policies can be wide-ranging in scope, affecting entire local, regional, or national populations, and they can be narrow in scope, affecting only a single organization. For example, at least three states now have laws mandating that all police agencies in the state utilize the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) when investigating firearm-related crimes.
Today’s investigations into violent crimes, especially gun-related crimes, have become more time-consuming due to factors including increases in the sources and quantities of digital and ballistics evidence. These new investigative challenges are stretching small and large departments alike. To solve these increasingly complex cases, law enforcement agencies are overlaying innovative technologies that help investigators gather and analyze both physical and digital evidence more effectively and with greater efficiency.
In a report published by the Police Foundation and Major Cities Chiefs Association in January 2017, major city and county law enforcement executives stated that of all of the tools and resources available to them in preventing and reducing violent crime, specifically gun violence, ballistic imaging tools were the most helpful, followed by gun tracing tools.
Since 1999, from across the country, approximately 3 million images of cartridge cases and bullets have been collected from crime scenes or test-fired guns have been uploaded into the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN), which allows for the capture and comparison of these ballistic images. When used to its fullest potential, NIBIN can generate timely investigative leads by linking crimes that may have otherwise gone unconnected.