New Weapon in War on Guns
The Regional Crime Gun Center in Chicago is operated by the field intelligence organization of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). Analysts there can set up and map tracing data from the thousands of guns found in the region annually.
Every gun located by Chicago police, which comes to over 1,000 each year, is tracked and categorized by serial number, where it was discovered, if it was employed in a crime, and who purchased it where and when. Computers can rapidly display data such as where guns found on particular Chicago streets are coming from or reveal where guns purchased at gun stores from out of state are winding up.
The computerized searching of gun data revealed that in a five-year period concluding last autumn, over 300 guns found in Chicago were sold at only four stores in Mississippi. As a result, 19 arrests in Chicago and Mississippi were made.
Over 130 police departments throughout Illinois can currently feed data on recovered guns through the Internet to the Chicago gun center.
In addition, the ATF’s National Tracing Center in West Virginia is recording information from throughout the United States.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) from the Chicago Tribune (03/05/07); P. 3; Coen, Jeff.