William R. King, a professor in the School of Public Service, recently co-authored a research article that examined differences in the ways forensic crime labs process evidence from violent gun crimes, and how these differences yield different outcomes. The research article, “Assessing best practices in crime labs structure, processes, and performance,” is forthcoming in the journal Policing: An International Journal.
The research team used data collected from forensic crime labs in the U.S. that process evidence, including fired cartridge cases and bullets, collected from violent gun crimes. The labs studied also use a computerized forensic database for ballistics evidence called NIBIN, which can match evidence from different crimes to a common firearm.
The researchers found that, overall, labs with greater communication with other agencies about gun crime, and evidence collection and transfer, processed more gun crime evidence and produced more ballistics matches or hits between violent gun crimes.