Law enforcement agencies across the United States all work to capture data for various types of crimes. The information shown by this data, along with other factors like political will, inform new services or approaches police may take in their activities. In North Carolina, one of the most recent moves suggested by the Wilmington Police Department (WPD) is the development of a gun crime intelligence center. One central tenant of this proposed move, inclusion in the National Integrated Ballistic Identification Network (NIBIN), could have significant criminal defense implications.
According to WPD Crime Analyst, gun crime data has been “yo-yoing” in the past few years. This data is one of the reasons cited in WPD’s request for a $632,894 grant, funds which it wants to use to install a gun crime intelligence center. The principal technology in this proposed center, NIBIN, would enable law enforcement to analyze whether shell casings are from the same gun. While this service is currently available through the state lab, the three to six-month wait has proved problematic for local law enforcement.
The WPD Chief has previously expressed interest in staying up to date with technology. Shotspotter, SABLE helicopter, and a partnership with Amazon’s Ring doorbell cameras and police-worn body cameras are all examples of how Wilmington has been outfitting police with innovations recently. Along with technology, the grant would also help fund the prosecutor’s office so more criminal cases can be tried in relation to gun crime.
Should the gun crime intelligence center be established, individuals facing charges for gun-related crimes may have new types of evidence to contend with at trial. Charges may also be brought more frequently. It is therefore more important than ever to find a trusted, experienced Wilmington, North Carolina law firm which can review the evidence and develop a strong criminal defense in these cases.