Volume 49, Issue 4 (July 2004)
Linking Crime Guns: The Impact of Ballistics Imaging Technology on the Productivity of the Boston Police Department's Ballistics Unit
Ballistics imaging technology has received national attention as a potent tool for moving the law enforcement response to violent gun criminals forward by linking multiple crime scenes to one firearm. This study examines the impact of ballistics imaging technology on the productivity of the Boston Police Department's Ballistics Unit. Using negative binomial regression models to analyze times series data on ballistics matches, we find that ballistics imaging technology was associated with a more than sixfold increase in the monthly number of ballistics matches made by the Boston Police Department's Ballistics Unit. Cost-effectiveness estimates and qualitative evidence also suggest that ballistics imaging technology allows law enforcement agencies to make hits that would not have been possible using traditional ballistics methods.