A Process and Outcome Evaluation of the use of NIBIN and its Effects on Criminal Investigations in the United States, 2006-2012 (ICPSR 34970)

Principal Investigator(s): King, William, Sam Houston State University; Wells, William, Sam Houston State University; Katz, Charles, Arizona State University; Maguire, Edward, American University; Frank, James, University of Cincinnati

Summary:

These data are part of NACJD's Fast Track Release and are distributed as they were received from the data depositor. The files have been zipped by NACJD for release, but not checked or processed except for the removal of direct identifiers. Users should refer to the accompanying readme file for a brief description of the files available with this collection and consult the investigator(s) if further information is needed.

This project had four goals/areas of examination.

  1. Examine the current state of the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) implementation nationally and at partner sites.
  2. Examine the impediments and facilitators of successful implementation of NIBIN.
  3. Understand the extent to which NIBIN helps identify suspects and increase arrests for firearms crimes.
  4. Understand best practices for the implementation of NIBIN at agencies and for criminal investigations.

Access Notes

  • These data are part of NACJD's Fast Track Release and are distributed as they were received from the data depositor. The files have been zipped by NACJD for release, but not checked or processed except for the removal of direct identifiers. Users should refer to the accompanying readme file for a brief description of the files available with this collection and consult the investigator(s) if further information is needed.

  • One or more files in this data collection have special restrictions ; consult the restrictions note to learn more. You can apply online for access to the restricted-use data. A login is required to apply.

    Access to these data is restricted. Users interested in obtaining these data must complete a Restricted Data Use Agreement, specify the reasons for the request, and obtain IRB approval or notice of exemption for their research.

    Any public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.

Dataset(s)

Dataset
Download:
No downloadable data files available.

Study Description

Citation

King, William, William Wells, Charles Katz, Edward Maguire, and James Frank. A Process and Outcome Evaluation of the use of NIBIN and its Effects on Criminal Investigations in the United States, 2006-2012. ICPSR34970-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2016-09-26. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR34970.v1

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR34970.v1

Export Citation:

  • RIS (generic format for RefWorks, EndNote, etc.)
  • EndNote XML (EndNote X4.0.1 or higher)

Funding

This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (2010-DN-BX-0001)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    ballistics, crime control, crime laboratories, firearms, forensic sciences, gun use, organizational structure

Smallest Geographic Unit:    State

Geographic Coverage:    Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York (state), North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Time Period:   

  • 2006-06--2012-07

Date of Collection:   

  • 2011--2012

Unit of Observation:    United States crime lab

Universe:    All forensic crime labs in the United States.

Data Type(s):    survey data

Data Collection Notes:

These data are part of NACJD's Fast Track Release and are distributed as they were received from the data depositor. The files have been zipped by NACJD for release, but not checked or processed except for the removal of direct identifiers. Users should refer to the accompanying readme files for a brief description of the files available with this collection and consult the investigator(s) if further information is needed.

This study release only includes the survey data at this time.

Methodology

Study Purpose:   

To understand the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) program performance in order to determine successful NIBIN usage.

Study Design:   

This study involved a four step process for gathering data from multiple sources. Only the survey data, step two below, are included in this release.

  1. Data was gathered from The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), which provided two types of National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) usage files, including overall monthly usage and hit data for all NIBIN sites between June 2006 and July 2012 as well as data files that reported every hit produced by 19 NIBIN sites between 2007 and 2012.
  2. Surveys were sent to all crime labs and their firearms sections within the labs in the United States in order to assess structure, operations and opinions about NIBIN. The research team identified 459 crime labs in the U.S., which were mailed a single point of contact (SPOC) survey with instructions that the lab director complete the survey. Additionally, the research team identified 223 crime labs in the United States that were participating (or had participated in the past two years) as partner sites in ATF's ballistics imaging program NIBIN. These 223 labs were mailed a survey with instructions to route the survey to the firearms section (NIBIN and Non-NIBIN sites were given different surveys) and after four mailings of the surveys were attempted to increase response rate resulting in 111 surveys returned.
  3. Site visits were conducted with 10 NIBIN partner sites. These site visits entailed interviews with crime lab managers, firearms section personnel, and police personnel such as officers in special gun or violent crime units, police operations, property room, and planning/research.
  4. Investigators who led the investigation in 65 criminal cases involving a NIBIN hit were interviewed.

Sample:   

  • A mailed survey of every identifiable public crime lab in the U.S. was conducted, including both National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) partner labs and non-NIBIN labs (total=459).
  • Ten NIBIN sites across the United States were chosen for site visits and interviews because of the following reasons: they were viewed as productive or innovative NIBIN sites, their volume of gun crime, geographic convenience, and whether they are run by local, regional or state agencies (a sample of each was selected). The sites visited included Phoenix, AZ; Santa Ana, CA; Stockton, CA; Marion; Co./Indianapolis, IN; New Orleans, LA; Kansas City, MO; Onondaga Co., NY; Bowling Green, OH; Austin, TX; and Houston, TX.
  • Six sites were visited for in-person interviews with criminal investigators in 65 criminal cases involving a NIBIN hit. These cases were selected mainly from recent homicides and cases involving assault with a deadly weapon.

Time Method:    Cross-sectional

Mode of Data Collection:    record abstracts, coded on-site observation, face-to-face interview, mail questionnaire

Data Source:

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) provided two types of National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) usage files including 1) overall monthly usage and hit data for all National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) sites between June 2006 and July 2012 and 2) data files that reported every hit produced by 19 NIBIN sites between 2007 and 2012.

Survey data from United States Crime Labs.

Site visits to ten NIBIN partner sites provided interviews with lab managers, firearms section personnel, and police personnel.

Interviews of investigators who led the investigation in 65 criminal cases involving a NIBIN hit.

Description of Variables:   

The current release of this study contains only two SPSS datasets of survey data.

  1. NIBIN_SPOC_for_ICPSR_07.30.14.sav: This dataset is comprised of data from a survey completed by the crime lab director and contains 223 variables (n=151) that represent the survey questions. These variables include type of jurisdiction served, type of lab, accreditation, functions the lab provides, organizational structure, responsibilities of supervisor, inter-agency communication, as well as the importance that community relations has one the lab and supervisor. Specifically, questions were asked about the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network(NIBIN), including whether or not they were currently, or previously, a NIBIN site, how much the agency used NIBIN, how many resources NIBIN used, how often access to NIBIN was requested by other agencies and how burdensome those requests were, how much support ATF provides for NIBIN for their lab, and perceptions of NIBIN's usefulness.
  2. NIBIN_Firearms_for_ICPSR_Dec_11_2013.sav: This dataset contains 153 variables (n=111). The data represent lab responses to questions concerning the processes and outcomes of firearms sections related to the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN). Questions address issues such as the number of entries from different types of evidence, the processes for screening the types of evidence that is input into the NIBIN database, and the relative importance of different types of evidence. Questions also address inter-agency collaboration such as regular communication with prosecutors and other agencies, standard operating procedures, and recommendations for improving NIBIN's performance. Specifically, questions were asked about NIBIN including whether their firearms unit is a NIBIN site, the type of NIBIN equipment the lab has, how frequently their firearms staff inputs evidence into NIBIN and how long it takes to enter the evidence, types of employees that input evidence into NIBIN and the types of evidence each employee enters, how many different law enforcement agencies their lab inputs NIBIN evidence for, the types of evidence that is input, the frequency of evidence type, how that evidence is screened and where it comes from, frequency of staff review of the NIBIN database for correlations, the protocol used for checking the correlations, and how many employee hours are spent on NIBIN related tasks.

Response Rates:   

The survey response rates were:

  • Crime Lab Manager Response Rates: 152 surveys returned (in one case two surveys were returned for one lab) out of 459 total surveys sent.
  • Firearms Unit Response Rates: 111 surveys were returned out of 223 surveys sent.

Version(s)

Original ICPSR Release:   2016-09-26

Utilities

Metadata Exports

If you're looking for collection-level metadata rather than an individual metadata record, please visit our Metadata Records page.

Download Statistics