News10NBC Investigates: New 3D bullet technology hopes to connect more guns to shooters 

New 3D technology could solve gun violence cases faster

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The Monroe County Crime Lab works to connect the bullets, to the guns, to the shooters.

News10NBC Investigative Reporter Jennifer Lewke spoke to folks at the crime lab about a new way they’re doing it — a way they hope will help solve more cases. 

News10NBC has covered dozens of crimes involving gun violence in our community, crimes that leave so many devastated families behind. 

To try to hold more of the shooters accountable for the chaos they cause, Monroe County is investing in new technology at the crime lab. When police respond to a shooting, evidence technicians collect the casings or cartages and the bullets.

“Our current system, the data base that we use, can only handle cartridge cases,” said John Clark, the director at the Monroe County Crime Lab. “So, we’re really only looking at, or using, half the evidence that we receive.”

When they process bullets at the lab, they have to do it under a microscope which takes time. And every conclusion, has to be independently checked by a second person.

A new program on the horizon

The new 3D program is a game changer.

“The new technology will give us the ability to image those bullets and put them in a database and do an automatic search, so that we can link crimes, or guns to crimes by bullets and cartridge cases,” says Clark. “It can save us days or weeks doing identification work because we have the image quality that’s so good, and we have all the evidence basically here already in images.”

The hope is they’ll be able to process evidence faster and more effectively. 

“We’re able to search the database, link more crimes together,, and hopefully that gives the police information to then solve additional crimes,” shares Clark.

What about past cases?

There might even be hope for older cases that have gone cold.

“And we could look at cold cases or older homicides, older shootings… We could put those bullets in there as well and search the data base to see if we could produce any leads for older cases as well,” Clark explains.

The county is covering the cost of the new technology — which should be somewhere between $500,000 to $600,000. They’re hoping to have it up and running by early next year.