Piecing out different sources of information related to criminal justice can be a difficult task. National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) and Social Network Analysis (SNA) has made leaps and bounds when it comes to helping law enforcement to understand patterns and trends when it comes to gun-related violence.
Justice Clearinghouse invited two special resources to talk about the application of NIBIN and SNA to create a picture of how incidents are connected through a common firearm and how guns are linked to specific individuals. Andrew M. Fox is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminology at California State University, while Dan Carew is the Deputy Prosecuting Attorney with the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office (KCPAO) in Seattle, WA.
Andrew’s research work includes SNA and community crime prevention, while Dan utilizes SNA and NIBIN in designing initiatives to reduce gun violence cases as well as preventive and intervention efforts.
Some of the areas that Dan and Andrew tackled in the webinar include:
From the researcher/data analysis standpoint
- An overview of Social Network Analysis (SNA), its scope and limitations.
- A snapshot of a sociogram that is the visual representation of the connections related to gun violence.
- The different data sources used to create the SNA.
- The analysis process flow starting with collating datasets, cleaning them up, finding links through NIBIN hits and individual relationships, and coming up with one comprehensive diagram of the interlocking networks.
- The data analysis created for the King County jurisdiction using 251 NIBIN leads and 612 incidents from 2015 to 2016.
- Processing NIBIN incidents by defining the importance of nodes through degree and betweenness centrality analysis.
- Building a Social Network Analysis (SNA) for 444 individuals to help identify who people are committing crimes with, who they’re connected to in relation to the flow of guns, and individuals that are on a high-risk for victimization.
- A look into the geographic distribution of incidents that provides a heat map where NIBIN and non-NIBIN incidents take place and how it relates to the topmost central individuals.
From the prosecutor perspective
- What they look for based on the existing data sources processed and provided.
- The challenges they encounter dealing with NIBIN leads and law enforcement co-arrest data such as data cleaning, leads generation, and conducting analysis.
- Case Studies for both gun and individuals illustrating how data can lead to arrests of suspects and identification of high-risk witnesses and potential victims.
Dan and Andrew responded to the attendee’s questions during the Q&A concerning:
- The software used to do link analysis
- The timelines to conduct the full data analysis
- The source of the NIBIN data used in the analysis
- Challenges and lessons learned in the process of conducting the analysis
- Creating an MOU to define roles, responsibilities, and data sharing among the various agencies involved
- Personnel involved who are actually doing the groundwork for the analysis
- Patterns observed when it comes to guns being passed from one individual to another
- Pre-qualifying specific jurisdictions for the research
- Relying on debriefs to provide information to bolster analysis findings