Investigative and Forensic Resources

Sidebar to the article Cold Cases: Strategies Explored at NIJ Regional Trainings by Beth Schuster

Several tools are available to support cold case units in their work.

National Crime Information Center (NCIC): This online computer and telecommunications system contains millions of property and personal records from across the U.S. During an investigation, information that cannot be obtained from an online search of NCIC may be needed. In these cases, an offline search of the database can be requested. In an offline search, personnel from the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services can search files on boats, guns, license plates, securities, missing persons, unidentified persons, sex offenders and wanted individuals. Possible uses of an offline search include placing an individual at the scene of a crime or miles away from the scene, substantiating or discrediting an alibi, and tracking the route of an individual. For more information, see the NCIC website.

Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS): IAFIS is a national repository of criminal history, fingerprints and photographs as well as information regarding military and select civilian employees. Maintained by the FBI, IAFIS provides positive identification based on fingerprint data (10-print and latent) and tentative identification based on person descriptors. For more information, see the IAFIS website.

National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN): Through NIBIN, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives deploys Integrated Ballistic Identification System equipment to federal, state and local law enforcement agencies for use in imaging and comparing crime gun evidence. The equipment allows firearms technicians to get digital images and comparisons of the markings made by a firearm on bullets and cartridge casings. If a possible match emerges, firearms examiners compare the original evidence to confirm the match. For more information, see the NIBIN website.

Date Created: July 15, 2008