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Proceedings Paper

Extracting ballistic forensic intelligence: microstamped firearms deliver data for illegal firearm traffic mapping: technology, implementation, and applications
Author(s): Orest P. Ohar; Todd E. Lizotte
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Paper Abstract

Over the years law enforcement has become increasingly complex, driving a need for a better level of organization of knowledge within policing. The use of COMPSTAT or other Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) for crime mapping and analysis has provided opportunities for careful analysis of crime trends. By identifying hotspots within communities, data collected and entered into these systems can be analyzed to determine how, when and where law enforcement assets can be deployed efficiently. This paper will introduce in detail, a powerful new law enforcement and forensic investigative technology called Intentional Firearm Microstamping (IFM). Once embedded and deployed into firearms, IFM will provide data for identifying and tracking the sources of illegally trafficked firearms within the borders of the United States and across the border with Mexico. Intentional Firearm Microstamping is a micro code technology that leverages a laser based micromachining process to form optimally located, microscopic "intentional structures and marks" on components within a firearm. Thus when the firearm is fired, these IFM structures transfer an identifying tracking code onto the expended cartridge that is ejected from the firearm. Intentional Firearm Microstamped structures are laser micromachined alpha numeric and encoded geometric tracking numbers, linked to the serial number of the firearm. IFM codes can be extracted quickly and used without the need to recover the firearm. Furthermore, through the process of extraction, IFM codes can be quantitatively verified to a higher level of certainty as compared to traditional forensic matching techniques. IFM provides critical intelligence capable of identifying straw purchasers, trafficking routes and networks across state borders and can be used on firearms illegally exported across international borders. This paper will outline IFM applications for supporting intelligence led policing initiatives, IFM implementation strategies, describe the how IFM overcomes the firearms stochastic properties and explain the code extraction technologies that can be used by forensic investigators and discuss the applications where the extracted data will benefit geospatial information systems for forensic intelligence benefit.

Paper Details

Date Published: 28 August 2009
PDF: 46 pages
Proc. SPIE 7434, Optical Technologies for Arming, Safing, Fuzing, and Firing V, 74340G (28 August 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.828465
Show Author Affiliations
Orest P. Ohar, Pivotal Development, LLC (United States)
Todd E. Lizotte, Pivotal Development, LLC (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7434:
Optical Technologies for Arming, Safing, Fuzing, and Firing V
Fred M. Dickey; Richard A. Beyer, Editor(s)

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