ROANOKE, Va. (VDBJ) – Federal, state and local authorities are turning to technology in their fight against violent crime. And they promise to prosecute the crimes the system identifies.

During a news conference Thursday morning, U.S. Attorney Christopher Cavanaugh touted the technology developed by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

It analyzes shell casings found at crime scenes and compares them to other records in a national database. The process, ATF says, can help uncover hidden links between violent crimes.

“This is NIBIN, the National Integrated Ballistic Identification Network,” said forensic firearms and implements examiner Walter Dandridge, as he demonstrated the system to reporters.

“We have an acquisition station to acquire fired casings and we have a review station to identify whether or not we have a NIB trace,” Dandridge said.

The system has a long and successful track record, linking cartridges fired from the same gun.

“The most important thing is that firing pin impression left on the back of that casing,” Cavanaugh said. “It’s similar to a fingerprint.”

Kavanaugh said he hopes more agencies will consistently use the NIBIN system, and vows to prosecute crimes uncovered by the NIBIN system.

“More suspects will be identified.” More suspects will be arrested. More violent crimes will be closed. More people will be held accountable, and when more people see it, more people will be deterred from violent crime. Our communities will be safer and our citizens will feel safer,” Cavanaugh said.

Danville Police Chief Scott Booth said his department has had more than 350 NIBIN hits since 2018.

“I think anything … that can help us identify the weapons used in the crimes, the number of weapons, if the weapons are linked from different crime scenes, identify the perpetrators, that’s all invaluable information to have at the beginning of an investigation,” he said. is Booth for VDBJ7. “So we’re true believers.”

The system has been in place since the late 90s, but access has been a problem, especially for smaller departments.

The Virginia State Police took over the system. Agents are now being trained at the Salem field office, and eventually hope to work with local departments that could benefit from NIBIN technology.

By Editor

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