Impact of ballistic evidence on criminal investigations


The challenges associated with investigating serious crime, particularly organised crime, are well known. Increasingly, police are turning to new information technologies to support traditional investigative techniques. Automated ballistic information technology allows police to link cases that would otherwise not be known to be related. By linking investigations, police can identify new leads and suspects. The current study used interviews with investigators in two states to understand what impact ballistic evidence has on criminal investigations into firearm crime. The results revealed a significant number of cases benefited from linked investigations—including cold cases and cases involving organised crime groups. This research helps to demonstrate the potential value of technology to law enforcement, and the circumstances in which it is most effective.