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Poll

Has your lab solved any crime using exclusivly IBIS/NIBIN, identifying positivly:

Bullets
0 (0%)
Casings
10 (52.6%)
None
7 (36.8%)
Only in conjunction of both
2 (10.5%)

Total Members Voted: 19

Author Topic: Eficiency of Automated Ballistic Identification Systems  (Read 16684 times)

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Offline michaelds

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Eficiency of Automated Ballistic Identification Systems
« on: May 10, 2011, 02:35:25 PM »
This is a research as to find out why certain european countries opted for other ballistic identifcation systems and the current system in the US is questioned.

Offline Jay Stuart

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Re: Eficiency of Automated Ballistic Identification Systems
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2011, 03:04:28 PM »
Your question for the poll is worded oddly..."Has your lab solved any crime using exclusively IBIS/NIBIN...".  We don't use IBIS/NIBIN to solve crimes.  It is used to link crimes.  At that point, it is up to other sections of the police department to "solve" the crimes.

That being said...in the 5+ years I have used NIBIN, I have only had one case that involved a "Hit" go to court and then the DA didn't even bring up the link between the two cases.  They just focused on the original case being tried.
Jay Stuart
Metro Crime Lab - Albuquerque, NM
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Offline Justine Kreso

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Re: Eficiency of Automated Ballistic Identification Systems
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2011, 08:35:16 AM »
I agree with what Jay has said.  There is no such thing as NIBIN/IBIS "solving" a crime.  It simply creates a link between 2 crimes and it is up to the police department or district attorney in charge of the case to determine what that link means.

However, we have had great success with NIBIN in my area.  NIBIN and/or open case file bullet hits have been used in about 4-5 RICO cases, as well as several cases in county court.  The local gang taskforce also uses our NIBIN hits to do crime tracking.

It is no secret that NIBIN is outdated technology that is not even being sold.  Most jurisdictions do not have the $$ to upgrade to some of the newer technology.  I image that any decisions to go with other programs are made just like the US--based on bottom line (referring to money) and the way a product is presented.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2011, 08:37:17 AM by Justine Kreso »
Justine Kreso
Onondaga County Center for Forensic Sciences
Syracuse, NY

Offline Garry Lawrence

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Re: Eficiency of Automated Ballistic Identification Systems
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2011, 10:30:16 AM »
In September 2010 the Firearms Unit was presented with a plaque indicating our 1250 hit (their words not mine) using the IBIS/CIBIN (for Canada) system.
Just like everyone else, it is up the Scientist to confirm the potential hit not CIBIN.
I do not know the numbers as far as how many of the hits helped in the solving of a crime.
I have been asked on the stand about linkages that have been made between different shooting events. To what extent that helped or not I do not know.

Offline Bob Shem

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Re: Eficiency of Automated Ballistic Identification Systems
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2011, 11:51:46 AM »
When we had NIBIN the system associated several cases and led to the "solving" of several unsolved cases.  However, I don't think that the cases ever went to trial because the guns could not be sufficiently associated with suspects.  For our jurisdiction we have found that NIBIN definitely has value but it came at a great expense per "hit".  I liken it to killing a mosquito with a nuclear bomb, effective but at a questionable cost.  In an era where the US government has overextended itself something has got to give.  It seems like NIBIN rates as "low hanging fruit" in many locales when it comes to spending cuts.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2011, 11:58:14 AM by Bob Shem »
Robert J. Shem, 4900 Buckingham Way., Anchorage, AK  99503, ph 907 952-2254, bobshem@alaskan.com

Offline michaelds

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Re: Eficiency of Automated Ballistic Identification Systems
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2011, 01:42:15 PM »
Thank you very much to all to you for your replys and please keep sending comments, all information I consider crucial to get to a logical and fair result and as more detailed it is so better.
The expression saying "solved" may be interpreted as geting positive results which resulted in a convinction. Sorry about the mislead.
Iam using another Identificationsystem and Iam just being curios about myth and truths about whats going on in the community.

Offline Stojan Kostic

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Re: Eficiency of Automated Ballistic Identification Systems
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2011, 03:51:11 PM »
Hello,

I was just curious. Which system you currently use in your daily work?

Offline michaelds

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Re: Eficiency of Automated Ballistic Identification Systems
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2011, 06:23:06 PM »
We use the Evofinder system, the results are impressive, the german federal police is using it as well the swiss police with success. However with our crime rate here it comes more closer to US crime problems related to firearms (in fact our problems are much worser, I guess)

Offline Mike Sandford

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Re: Eficiency of Automated Ballistic Identification Systems
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2011, 08:04:57 AM »
This is all merely semantics.  Surely IBIS/NIBIN does not solve crimes.  It takes an investigator to solve the crime.  Even if the investigators are handed the case breaking lead on a silver platter.  Those investigators, the ones charged with the task of solving that case, rightfully get the credit for a job well done.

Now I submit this:

A Police Officer is shot several times, including in the face, during an apparent "road rage" incident on his way to work.  He was out of uniform and in his personal vehicle.  The only witness to the crime is the victim/police officer.  A multi-agency task force is launched to investigate the crime.  This same night, firearms examiners from one of NJ's busiest labs were called into service and very late that night evidence from the scene was entered into IBIS.  The correlation results were negative.

A Month goes by with little headway as the victim was shot in the face and due to his injuries he was unable to assist the task force with workable information.  The nature of the incident being road rage indicated that this crime was random in nature with no known connection between the victim and his assailant.

Two weeks after the incident a little publicized and low profile "criminal mischief" incident occurs in the next county.  A drunk man outside a strip club was arrested shooting at a liquor store.  There was no attempted burglary, no robbery, the victim was a cinder block wall.  By all accounts this was an inchoate crime, the official charge, "Unlawful Possession of a Firearm".

I recall the investigator's comment when he submitted the evidence.  "No rush, it's just a possession job and the guys sitting in the county 'cause he can't make bail."  With backlogs and case loads being what they are, test shots were entered into IBIS three weeks after submission.  It had now been nearly six weeks since the Police Officer was shot.

I'm sure by now you can figure out the end result.  I am quite sure that had it not been for IBIS/NIBIN the odds that this gun would have been connected to the attempted murder of that police officer anytime soon were astronomically low.  The IBIS System worked exactly the way it was designed and I can clearly say, "IBIS broke the case".

The defendant has been charged with attempted murder.  Subsequently he has been committed to a psychiatric hospital which has postponed his trial.  The officers who made the "Unlawful Possession" arrest, myself, and my partner, all received awards for a job well done.  Truely the highlight of my career was shaking the hand of that officer as he said thank you.  Thanks for the initial efforts of the Firearms Examiners from Newark Police, (Sgt. Luke Laterza, Det. Frank Feretra, Det. Antonio Badine), the guys who started the IBIS ball rolling.

Now I ask, did IBIS solve the crime?  I say YES.
Lt. Mike Sandford
Union County Police
Firearms Identification Unit
Supervising Firearms Examiner

Offline Bill Wheatley

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Re: Eficiency of Automated Ballistic Identification Systems
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2011, 09:03:20 PM »
@ Mike  :-00 Like  :-00
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Offline Laura Draga

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Re: Eficiency of Automated Ballistic Identification Systems
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2011, 01:51:13 PM »
It is no secret that NIBIN is outdated technology that is not even being sold.

Maybe not a secret, but news to me. (Always the last to know; :'( ) We're on the list for BrassTrax. I think we're still hopeful that it will be worthwhile.

As far as answering the question, we've had several dozens of hits; I know Orlando has had far more. I don't know of any here in our region that have led to any investigative breakthroughs. One of our latest hits relates two homicides, an assault and an "other" to a found gun. Hooray!! :P Our local agency hardly seems to be interested in bringing the stuff back most of the time.

I may as well take the opportunity to go off on a tangent, since the subject of this thread is efficiency: there were two earlier threads about missed hits which provided little detail. Does anyone have information they can share about hits NIBIN has missed? I don't mean "missed" in the sense of not in the top 10 but things that have not come up in the correlation list at all.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2011, 02:01:39 PM by Laura Draga »

Offline michaelds

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Re: Eficiency of Automated Ballistic Identification Systems
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2011, 05:35:42 PM »
Thank you for all contribuitions, however I want to make clear that all of the systems today on the market are able to identify casings and /or cartriges otherwise they wouldnt sell such equipments no more.
The issue is HOW EFICIENT they are if linked with a large database, I know from other more unknown systems  that they are very good to a certain volume but at certain point begin to pack up, rendering results to nearly useless. I made a test database of 1000 guns same model, same caliber, serial number in sequence, the results where quite interesting, especially when it comes to bullets. After one year I made a recall of some of the registered weapons, interviewing the user about his shooting and cleaning habits and then rescanned bullet and case of the gun with satisfactory results.
By no means this post is destinated to disqualify any system, all opinions are welcome and should be respected, however being free to discussions.

Offline Bob Shem

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Re: Eficiency of Automated Ballistic Identification Systems
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2011, 06:06:29 PM »
Your question highlights the need to keep the database a reasonable size.  The US political push to add all new firearms to the database would be a disaster if all of the data were lumped together.  However, that problem could be mitigated if crime-related items were tagged for querying.

Maintaining only crime guns and fired components in the database would be the key, but how well the technology works would be difficult to ascertain without an objective comparison between systems.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2011, 06:08:31 PM by Bob Shem »
Robert J. Shem, 4900 Buckingham Way., Anchorage, AK  99503, ph 907 952-2254, bobshem@alaskan.com

Offline Jan De Ceuster

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Re: Eficiency of Automated Ballistic Identification Systems
« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2011, 07:19:04 AM »
I'd like to add my point of view as a European.

Let me get back to the original question and post. Of course we made hits with IBIS, specifically cartridge cases. But no hits were exclusively made with IBIS. Any potential hit was confirmed on the comparison microscope. Keep in mind that automated systems are developed as pre-screening tools to find cold hits, not as a tool to make a final call about an identification.

Here in Belgium, we have had IBIS for quite a long time. It is still being used in case work. Recently we also purchased the Evofinder system for which we are in the process of training. It is a fact that quite a few different systems are used in Europe. The cold hit rates in European countries, at least in the countries that I know off, are quite low. From experience of some European member states, it became clear that the geographical distance between cold hits is low (mostly same city, same region). I would be very interested in learning about the NIBIN experience in this respect. Are there many cross-state cold hits recorded?

For the above reasons I don't feel an urgent need for a European network, at least not at all cost. I think it is a good thing that countries/institutes get to choose their own means to work with... it is a free market after all.

Saying this, Michael, I am interested in learning about your Evofinder experiences with the 1000 same model guns.
Jan De Ceuster
Nationaal Instituut voor Criminalistiek en Criminologie
Brussels, Belgium

 

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