Myrtle Beach Police Use New Technology to Analyze Bullet Cases, Solve Crimes

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – A new program is helping law enforcement agencies in the Grand Strand and Pee Dee solve crimes and generate new leads faster by sharing information with other agencies.

The Myrtle Beach Police Department introduced the National Integrated Ballistics Information Network (NIBIN) on Wednesday. It has been up and running since the Grand Strand for less than a year, but launched in the 1990s.

Since December he has helped generate more than 150 tips to help resolve open investigations.

Through NIBIN, the Myrtle Beach Police Department’s Crime Gun Intelligence Center was able to analyze bullet casings found at the crime scene to help identify what type of gun fired the bullets and who registered or owned the gun.

Most of the leads were from the Myrtle Beach and Horry County area and some helped solve cases related to our area.

Myrtle Beach Police Chief Amy Prock said it is another tool for apprehending those who attempt to commit crimes in our community.

“As a community, we will use every resource at our disposal to hold anyone who commits crimes accountable for their actions,” Prock said.

Essentially, each firearm leaves a mark on a shell casing similar to a fingerprint, each one different and unique to the firearm.

During a demonstration, officers fired their weapons at a shooting range and then collected shell casings found on the floor which were taken to the Myrtle Beach Crime Gun Intelligence Center and examined under a microscope.

They are then able to compare the information and data with NIBIN and other agencies across the country which could help them pinpoint who registered the gun or where it was sold.

Before using the system, firearms examiners did this process manually, which was extremely labor intensive. Now law enforcement agencies can search for evidence from their own jurisdiction, neighboring ones and others across the country.

“One crime scene might have video of the person and another crime scene might have a vehicle license plate so that investigators can then take all this information and connect it whereas before we were never able to connect all these scenes. together now, we’re able to connect them and solve crimes,” said ATF Special Agent Bennie Mims.

Since launching, the network has generated over 300,000 leads across the country helping resolve both active investigations and cold cases.

According to the ATF, the agency has also collected more than 4.5 million ballistics pieces of evidence that are stored in this network.

“This is a big deal, it’s really useful for law enforcement and it’s great for what we do,” said Horry County Sheriff Phillip Thompson.

Although the system is hosted in Myrtle Beach, all surrounding law enforcement agencies can use this technology to help solve crimes in their communities.

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