a role in the investigation.3 The nomenclature is deceptive in that a “Hit of the Week” is not necessarily—indeed, not often—a hit that was completed in that calendar week, but is rather a device for generating a NIBIN-usage profile on a weekly basis. The summaries reflect choices made by NIBIN management on which “hits” to profile and are not exhaustive of all the program’s hits, yet they offer some interesting observations.

What is perhaps most striking from a review of the 188 “Hits of the Week” is that the “national” nature of the database never arises, and even instances of hits across multiple NIBIN sites are extremely rare. That is, the spotlighted “Hits of the Week” are generally instances in which leads are drawn between cases in the same city, county, or metropolitan area; very few of them are instances in which an exhibit from NIBIN Site A turns up as possibly linked to an exhibit entered at NIBIN Site B, elsewhere in the same state or across state lines. The hit profiled for June 10, 2002, is the only one where exhibits explicitly described as being entered at different NIBIN sites were connected, and that involved linkages drawn between multiple incidents in Houston and Harris County, Texas, with a homicide in Prairie View in neighboring Fort Bend County. Some of the reported hits do cover slightly larger geographic distances, but it is not clear that the evidence was entered at different NIBIN sites. For instance, the hit for June 30, 2003, linked a gun confiscated in Chicago with a homicide in McDonough County in western Illinois, but it is not indicated whether the evidence in question was processed by the same NIBIN site (i.e., the Illinois State Police crime laboratory in Chicago). Likewise, the hit profiled for March 1, 2004, linked a firearm from a shooting in Minneapolis to guns used in a homicide committed 3 months later and some 120 miles away in Redwood Falls, Minnesota, but the summary does not indicate which NIBIN site or sites acquired the evidence (or were credited with the hit).

We note that the “Hits of the Week” do not include cases where, for instance, evidence from a crime committed in Pennsylvania is found by a NIBIN query to be linked to cases in New York or Maryland. This is not to say that NIBIN hits are not cross-jurisdictional; indeed, the highlighted hits include numerous cases where separate police departments are able to generate links by submitting evidence to the same NIBIN site for acquisition and processing. For instance, the hit for March 18, 2003, indicates that multiple departments submit exhibits to the Essex County, New Jersey, Sheriff’s Office for NIBIN entry, enabling links to be made between evi-


Though there are 190 paragraphs, they appear to cover only 188 distinct “cases.” The hit profiled for March 4, 2003, is an additional NIBIN-suggested link in a set of crimes first described the week before on February 25. The hits for January 19 and February 2, 2004, both describe linkages between four shootings in the Columbus, Ohio, area over a 6-week period; the paragraphs appear to cover the same incidents but are edited differently.

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