Davenport police can solve cases quicker because of forensic system for ballistics

DAVENPORT, Iowa. (KWQC) - Davenport police are now able to solve cases more quickly by using a nationwide program that tracks shell casings. The police department is most excited about the turnaround time for getting ballistic results: before, they would send shell casings to an area near Des Moines and have to wait 4 to 8 months to get results back. Now, they can get results in days or even hours thanks to NIBIN, the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network.

Davenport Police Department recently purchased NIBIN, a system that helps match gunshell cases to others across the United States. They say this will help them solve cases quicker; instead of waiting 4-8 months for results, they only wait a few hours.

Each bullet casing has a unique "fingerprint" which can be traced back to its original firearm in the system, solving cases while they're still active. They see most people who commit gun violence crossing cities, so by having this system they hope they can prevent future shots fired.

Davenport has seen violent crime go down 20% in the last two years, 8.6% in 2018 and 12% in 2017. However, violent gun crime has remained the same. So far this year, Davenport has seen 143 shots fired incidents which is similar to last year's rate. This year, they've confiscated 258 firearms, most of which they believe are stolen.

"Gun events are becoming more frequent with our officers and that's why it's important to have the technology in house. We can jump on our investigative leads a lot quicker and we can hopeully ensure the safety of our officers as well as the safety of our community," said Davenport Major Jeff Bladel.

Police say they treat every gun related incident as a potential homicide, while sometimes it may be that people are target practicing or guns accidentally go off. Their overall goal however is to address and reduce violent crime in the community.

Bladel continued, "when we're talking about violent crime, it truly is a community effort to address violent crime. Every resource we can do, every community engagement, involvement, participation that we can do, we are all in and violent crime is definitely our priority."

Davenport P.D. is working on getting other area cities trained to use the system. That way, even more cases in the Quad Cities can be solved at a faster rate. There are about 150 NIBIN systems throughout the United States, which Davenport can use to trace against.