Leading the Way: New Jersey's Revolutionary Strategy in Tackling Gun Violence


In an era where gun violence remains a pressing concern, New Jersey has emerged as a beacon of hope. The state's long-term commitment to using technology, data analysis, and information sharing has led to significant reductions in gun violence, marking a new era in law enforcement.


The Strategy:

New Jersey's approach, spanning over 15 years, has focused on an intelligence-led policing model. This involves the integration of technology and data analysis for tracking and managing gun-related crimes. A key aspect of this strategy is the collaboration and data sharing across different agencies, transcending traditional jurisdictional boundaries. This collaborative effort has resulted in the effective tracking of firearms across states, particularly those used in criminal activities.


Impressive Outcomes:

The results are telling. Between 2021 and 2023, New Jersey witnessed a 25% decline in both fatal and nonfatal shooting victims. The state's gun homicide rate in 2021 was 55% lower than the national average, showcasing the effectiveness of this approach.

Key Components:

  1. Ballistic Imaging and eTrace: Central to the strategy is the use of ballistic imaging and the eTrace system, a platform that provides details about firearms' origins and initial purchasers.
  2. Collaboration and Information Sharing: A memorandum of understanding (MoU) with various states for sharing crime gun data has been a game-changer, allowing for the tracking of firearms across jurisdictions.
  3. Legislative Support: New Jersey's efforts are bolstered by laws mandating timely submission of crime gun evidence for forensic analysis, which has significantly improved evidence collection.


Leadership and Vision:

Governor Phil Murphy attributes the success to New Jersey's stringent gun safety laws and highlights the need for an interstate effort to tackle gun crime effectively. The approach is deeply rooted in leadership theories like John Kotter's Leading Change model, emphasizing the importance of a clear vision, strategic planning, and fostering a culture of continuous improvement.


A Model for Others:

This innovative approach in New Jersey is now serving as a blueprint for other states. The adoption of similar strategies across the US indicates a shift towards a more proactive and data-driven approach in law enforcement.



New Jersey's intelligence-led policing model demonstrates the power of technology, collaboration, and strategic planning in combatting gun violence. It stands as a testament to the potential of innovative law enforcement strategies in creating safer communities. As more states look towards adopting similar models, there's hope for a future where gun violence is significantly curbed, not just in New Jersey but across the nation.

This post is inspired by the article “New Jersey’s intelligence-led policing approach to gun violence lauded as a ‘new era’ in enforcement” by Sarah Gibbons, published on Policing Insight. For a deeper dive into this topic, visit Policing Insight- NOTE: a subscription may be needed to access the article.

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