Inside the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Crime Gun Intelligence Mobile Command, special agents work side-by-side with Metropolitan Police Department detectives to link recovered guns and shell casings to multiple crime scenes in the D.C.
The two agencies along with the U.S. Attorney’s Office got together to form the NIBIN (National Integrated Ballistic Information Network) Investigations Unit.
“I am optimistic that this unit will have a positive impact on driving down violence, helping us remove the right guns out of the wrong hands,” D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee said.
The technology analyzes ballistic evidence from shooting scenes and recovered firearms. The data is cross-referenced with an ATF database allowing detectives to work more efficiently and track down suspected gunmen before they can strike again or someone retaliates against them.
This year, almost 1,100 illegal firearms have been recovered in D.C.
“In the District of Columbia, 25 percent of the firearms that we recovered we can say that these firearms certainly link back to a scene,” Contee said.
NIBIN is not new. Over the past two years, the technology has developed almost 2,000 leads for MPD. What’s different now is the dedicated manpower to effectively use the system.
“We physically have detectives, analysts, intel research specialists embedded with our group,” ATF Washington Field Division Special Agent in Charge Charlie Patterson said.
Patterson says NIBIN data shows what the department has believed for several years.
“The intelligence gleaned from this technology shows us a small group of individuals are responsible for most of the shootings here in the District,” he said.
Contee hopes the additional resources can help detectives find those individuals, but he says it’s just one approach to curbing gun violence.
More economic opportunities are needed, and Tuesday the chief attended a job fair aimed at keeping people from turning to crime to make ends meet.
“I think it’s an opportunity for us to really look at the entire system,” he said.