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CPD's gun crime center launched almost a year ago. Here's how that work is going

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Cincinnati Police Department
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Courtesy
The National Integrated Ballistic Information Network, NIBIN, allows law enforcement agencies to track down weapons used in other crimes.

About 130 shootings have been reported in Cincinnati so far this year, on track with gun crime trends before a big spike during the pandemic. Cincinnati Police say the Crime Gun Intelligence Center, which launched about a year ago, is more effective than previous efforts to get illegal guns off the streets.

“You hear people talk about evidence-based policing — this truly is evidence-based,” said CPD’s Lieutenant Colonel Mike John. “It is based on physical evidence. We're looking at the gun, who's in possession of that gun, and trying to take that gun off of the street."

CGIC is a collaboration between CPD and several other law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Homeland Security and ATF. The effort uses ballistics-tracing technology to target specific weapons.

“Those tools include the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network: NIBIN,” said Daryl McCormick, special agent in charge for the local branch of ATF. “NIBIN tells us when a gun is connected to a crime scene, and when multiple crime scenes are connected to each other. The CGIC is also using firearms tracing [which] tells us how a gun was originally acquired, and helps us have a trail to track down how it got to the actual shooter.”

Those technologies are not new, but McCormick says the advantage of CGIC is having officers from multiple agencies working in the same building.

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Cincinnati Police Department
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An example of the connections between weapons used in various crimes. Guns in green are top targets for CPD to find and confiscate.

Cincinnati was the first Ohio city to create a CGIC, which is an initiative from the National Resource and Technical Assistance Center for Improving Law Enforcement Investigations.

The local version launched in July 2021; as of mid-May 2022, it has resulted in 217 illegal gun recoveries and 475 arrests. Charges include felonious assault (20), kidnapping (10), trafficking in drugs (7), illegal possession of a firearm (7), and murder (5).

Three Cincinnati men were federally charged with illegally purchasing firearms just this week, CPD says. Possessing a firearm illegally is punishable by up to 10 years in federal prison.

“Stopping persons engaged in the illegal act of straw-purchasing firearms is one of the first steps to preventing so many other potentially tragic circumstances that come with the misuse of the gun, such as potential robberies, car-jackings, drug trafficking, crimes and even murder and maiming someone,” Parker said.

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Cincy Insights
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Reported shootings in Cincinnati as of June 14, 2022; the teal portion of each bar represents the number of shootings through June 14 of that year.

Becca Costello grew up in Williamsburg and Batavia (in Clermont County) listening to WVXU. Before joining the WVXU newsroom, she worked in public radio & TV journalism in Bloomington, Indiana and Lincoln, Nebraska. Becca has earned numerous awards for her reporting, including from local chapters of the Associated Press and Society of Professional Journalists, and contributed to regional and national Murrow Award winners. Becca has a master's degree in journalism from Indiana University and a bachelor's degree from Cincinnati Christian University. Becca's dog Cincy (named for the city they once again call home) is even more anxious than she is.