When it comes to solving and preventing gun crimes in the United States, law enforcement needs all the help that it can get. In the past decade, the National Integrated Ballistic Identification Network (NIBIN) has been extremely helpful in assisting law enforcement agencies solve gun-related crimes.
What is NIBIN?
The NIBIN is a nationwide database that contains digital images of spent bullets and cartridges that have been found at crime scenes or test-fired from confiscated weapons. This comprehensive network has been maintained by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) since the early 1990s. This advanced ballistic imaging network is the only one operating in the country. Prior to the evolution of this technology, investigators used firearm examiners to manually process shells and cartridges that were found at crime scenes.
What Exactly Does NIBIN Do?
Firearms are used to commit violent crimes every day. Linking crimes in which the same firearm was used can be difficult to do without the NIBIN. The NIBIN is similar to the fingerprinting system that stores fingerprint information on millions of individuals and allows authorities to identify the perpetrator of a crime by searching for a fingerprint match in the database. The images in the NIBIN have often been described as fingerprints for bullets.
Cartridge cases that are recovered from crime scenes and test fires that are produced by agencies that confiscate firearms are submitted to a lab where they are barcoded. The barcodes are then entered into the NIBIN database along with digital images of the cartridge casing. Firearm examiner findings are formulated and accompany the casing and images in the NIBIN system. All of this information can be helpful to investigators. When a new spent shell or cartridge case is entered into the NIBIN system, it automatically searches for cases that would have used a similar weapon.
The Benefits of the NIBIN Database
Over the years, the NIBIN database has greatly benefited law enforcement agencies. The system has been able to match unlinked gun crimes. In addition, it has drastically reduced the number of unsolved cases in which a firearm was used because it generates new leads to cases that have gone cold.
The NIBIN works fast. In many cases, the database has generated hits within days of a crime. This can result in the speedy arrest of a possible offender. The system has also aided in cutting down the amount of time it takes law enforcement agencies to solve crimes. As a result, authorities are able to better serve the community by devoting more time to crime prevention.
How The Cincinnati Weapons Lawyers Can Help
The future of solving gun crime lies in effective management and operation of the NIBIN. But with all systems that involved human input, errors are possible and innocent individuals may become victims to inadequacies and possible tampering. If you find yourself being arrested and charged with a gun crime, you are innocent until proven guilty. Contact the Cincinnati weapons lawyers at (513) 338-1890.