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Timely Intelligence Enhances Criminal Investigations: Investigators' Ratings of Ballistics Imaging Across Three Cities

NCJ Number
Crime & Delinquency Volume: Online Dated: APR 2024
Jessica Huff; William R. King; Charles M. Katz; Natalie Kroovand Hipple; Kenneth J. Novak; Silas Patterson
Date Published
April 2024

In this study, researchers examined perceptions of National Integrated Ballistics Information Network (NIBIN) and whether lead timeliness influences those perceptions.


This study found that detectives who receive National Integrated Ballistics Information Network (NIBIN) leads sooner after a crime occurs have significantly higher odds of reporting the lead as helpful. The NIBIN, a database of ballistic evidence from crime scenes, seeks to provide investigative leads by linking separate offenses involving the same weapons. Using surveys about 570 gun crimes in Indianapolis, Kansas City, and Phoenix, the authors examined perceptions of NIBIN and whether lead timeliness influences those perceptions. The predicted probability of a lead being perceived as helpful is 43.11% if received 30 days after a crime, but only 17.80% 1 year later. Leads were more helpful for robberies and homicides than other offenses. To maximize the utility of NIBIN, agencies should prioritize rapid evidence processing. (Published Abstract Provided)