Feds Step In To Help Gun Crime Fight in Chicago

Escalating gun violence in Chicago has made headlines over the last two years. Politicians have spoken about federal assistance. The Chicago Police Department is now receiving some help from federal law enforcement to investigate gun violence.

A report in Chicago Tonight revealed the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) is lending Chicago access to technology that police believe will help close thousands of gun cases opened every year.

The new technology is called the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN).

According to the ATF, the system was set up in 1999. It provides state, federal, and local partners with an automated ballistic imaging network. NIBIN is the only national network that facilitates the capture and comparison of ballistic evidence to assist in investigations and the prevention of violent crimes involving firearms. ATF states on its website:

“NIBIN is vital to any violent crime reduction strategy, because it provides investigators the ability to compare their ballistics evidence against evidence from other violent crimes on a national, regional and local level, thus generating investigative links that would rarely be revealed absent the technology.”

ATF has rolled out a new $300,000 van that operates as a hub for the technology. Every time a firearm is fired, it leaves markings on the shell casings like a fingerprint. The technology allows investigators to analyze the markings and compare them to casings found at other shooting scenes.

When a weapon is fired, it leaves several sorts of markings on the shell casings, like a fingerprint. This technology allows police to analyze those markings, and compare them to casings found at other shootings.

Although the network isn’t new, the speed of results is. The Chicago Police Department at present has access to this information in its own crime lab in Homan Square. Use of the van will allow police to get access to the information much faster: two to six hours, as opposed three weeks.

In late June, Sen. Dick Durbin, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Superintendent Eddie Johnson took tour of the van.

Johnson explained when a shooting incident occurs in the city, the police notify ATF to meet them at the crime scene.

The unit will recover casings from the scene and test fire a gun if a weapon is recovered.  Casings will be put into the national system. Johnson said each casing is like a fingerprint. The system allows the cartridges to be associated with other shootings and hence offenders.

We recently noted how Chicago Police have enlisted predictive technology in the fight against crime in the city. The technology being used after shootings includes ShotSpotter, described as an “ear in the sky.”

Our experienced Chicago criminal defense attorneys are well versed in the new technology being used by the police and how it may affect your rights. Call us at (312) 229-0008.

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