Bullet Database Takes Aim At Crime
The Integrated Ballistic Identification System (IBIS), a computer program that compares the markings on crime scene bullets to those in similar cases using a computer database maintained by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, is helping the Stockton Police Department in California prosecute criminals.
Stockton Police Department evidence technician Melanie Miller says the IBIS system has the potential to help police determine patterns of gang warfare. Similarly, Sacramento criminalist Leslie Poole says the database helps police match guns used in one crime to other crimes–something that was difficult to do without the database.
The IBIS system scans bullets for markings, then runs those markings against a database of known weapons to identify matches that police and crime technicians may never have identified. The Sacramento crime lab has used the system to determine about three dozen gun matches since 1996, when it began using the IBIS system.
The system enables law enforcement officers to capture evidence in cases that may have no other physical evidence or leads, and officials say the IBIS system will be most helpful in helping to identify and prosecute street gang suspects.
In one example, the IBIS system helped New Orleans police gather evidence and charge 13 members of a dangerous street gang there.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the Sacramento Bee (11/28/03) P. B1; Brown, Mareva.