You know all the crazy science stuff you see on shows like CSI, complete with computer read outs, DNA tests, and fingerprint analyzers? Yep, they’ve got all that stuff and more. They are in the business of putting criminals behind bars, but instead of using guns and handcuffs, they use microscopes and beakers.
One of the best tools they have for getting a conviction is ballistics tests. Every gun is unique, so every bullet that gets fired out of a gun is just as unique. Investigators can match up a bullet to a gun fairly easily, assuming that they can recreate the conditions under which the gun was originally fired.
Det. Jonathan Fox describes the process: “We’re sort of like fitting a puzzle together.” You wouldn’t think that lines and scrape marks on a bullet would be easy to remember, but they stick with Det. Fox. While investigating a 2010 Easter shooting, he remembered the bullet striations from an earlier case and was able to make a match. The same gun was used in both cases. Elementary, our dear readers.
In 2011 alone, the lab collected over 10,000 pieces of gun-related evidence and analyzed 6,500 firearms. The vaults also store some of the most famous weapons in New York history. They’ve got the gun that killed John Lennon, and the .44 used by David Berkowitz, aka the “Son of Sam.” It’s like a fully stocked crime museum down there!