ATF brings ballistics van to Baltimore after murder rate surges

The ATF's new NIBIN (National Integrated Ballistic Information Network) van. (Photo: Twitter)

The ATF’s new National Integrated Ballistic Information Network van. (Photo: ATF/Twitter)

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have brought its gun tracing van to Baltimore after a surge in the city’s murder rate.

The Baltimore Sun reported the new National Integrated Ballistic Information Network van will be used to try and solve gun crimes at a quicker rate than authorities are currently capable of solving them.

The ATF uses NIBIN to analyze ballistics evidence to match crime scene shell casings to a firearm and also to try and determine if the gun has been used in other crimes.

The new tool was deployed after mayor Catherine Pugh asked for more federal resources to help stop the rise in violent crime in Baltimore, which in 2017 has seen its highest ever recorded murder rate.

ATF Baltimore Field Division special agent in charge Daniel L. Board called the mobile ballistics lab a “critical piece to solving and preventing gun violence in Baltimore.”

The network is used to solve gun crimes throughout the country and will be used in Baltimore for periods of time during the spring and summer.

Pugh thanked the ATF for lending the additional resources, admitting the crime rate in Baltimore had gotten out of control.

“We’re grateful to the federal intervention in the city of Baltimore,” Pugh said. “We are looking for all the help we can get. Murder is out of control. There are too many guns on the streets.”

City Councilman Brandon Scott, chairman of the council’s Public Safety Committee, also commented on the federal support and said the new tool was a welcomed site.

“Every little bit helps,” Scott said. “It’s clear we have to do things differently. What we’re doing currently isn’t working. The strategy isn’t working.”

So far in 2017, there have been 108 homicides in Baltimore, and violent crime is up by 23 percent compared to last year.