This study examines the innovative use of firearms related evidence to enhance violent crime investigations in New Jersey.
This study integrates firearms evidence, particularly shootings event information, ballistics imaging and crime gun tracing with intelligence analysis to provide investigators with new avenues of lead generation. This research is the first formal assessment of this unique statewide collaboration and information sharing effort. The study is a mixed methods approach to policy analysis using both quantitative and qualitative analysis. The researchers’ analyzed ballistics imaging submissions over a multi-year period in addition to examining open source and agency documents that tracked many of the crime reduction projects the New Jersey State Police incorporated into their crime gun intelligence effort. This effort changed the use of firearms forensic evidence from a sole evidential focus to one that also incorporates a premonitory focus required to generate investigative leads. This project demonstrated the critical importance of fusing firearms forensic evidence such as ballistics imaging with locally available information, such as arrest and incident data on a statewide basis. This study further demonstrated the value of ballistics imaging to connect, previously unconnected incidents, individuals, and weapons particularly when combined with other law enforcement data sets.