TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Bullets are breaking open cases for the Tucson Police Department.
"It's a really small lead that leads to bigger multiple cases," Sergeant Ben Soltero with the Gun Crime Unit said.
TPD is using a machine that allows them to analyze the casings and determine if the same gun was used in multiple crime scenes. Tucson is the only place in Southern Arizona with a machine that can do this. TPD often will help out other agencies when needed.
Each time a casing is analyzed they go into the NIBIN (National Integrated Ballistic Information Network) Database. The more entries that are submitted, the stronger it becomes.
"We can tie multiple scenes throughout the city to one person or one crime gun that is being used to commit this crime," Soltero said.
Each week the department will go through hundreds of shell casings. This adds more work on the front-end, but Soltero said it acts as a force multiplier.
In addition to analyzing bullets, TPD will also look at DNA and digital evidence among other things to help paint a full picture of what happened.
"All of these things by themselves are just individual leads. They don't give you enough to charge anyone with a set crime," Soltero said. "When you can show that they all stack on top of each other to put someone at a certain place and time, it gives us a really good picture of how a persons behavior or how an event unfolded."