National program looks at spent bullets in an effort to help solve crimes


Unique markings left on spent bullets and cartridge cases can hold valuable information for investigators. Information that can be used to not only solve crimes but connect crimes. 

"It has definitely allowed us to connect shootings that we had no idea were connected," said Suzanne Dabkowski with ATF. 

It's called the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network of NIBIN. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives manages the national database. The equipment is in crime labs around the country. 

In Cuyahoga County, the high tech equipment is housed at the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office.

"The imaging technology is amazing. Now, we are using 3D images for comparison. We're seeing things that we didn't see before," said Sam Marso with the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office. "We will take the case cartridge into the system, take images and compare it, " he added.  

Since the program started in 1999, 2.8 million images of ballistic evidence have been captured. The technology has solved robberies, murders, cold cases and more across the country. 

Before the NIBIN program, the process used to be done manually which was very labor intensive. The only way NIBIN can be used is in connection with a criminal investigation. 




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