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Facts and Figures 2003

Law Enforcement Support

The FBI works to enhance the criminal justice system's effectiveness and efficiency at all levels: national, state, county, and municipal. One of the key ways the FBI does this is by serving as a national focal point for criminal justice information, providing accurate and timely services to local, state, federal, and international law enforcement organizations, the private sector, academia, and other government agencies.

Image of the new FBI laboratory in Quantico, Virginia
New lab building in Quantico, Virginia

Laboratory: The FBI Laboratory was created in 1932 and today is one of the largest and most comprehensive crime laboratories in the world. The Lab supports the federal and nonfederal criminal justice systems by conducting scientific analyses of physical evidence; providing specialized scientific and technical support to ongoing investigations; developing an automated database of DNA patterns from evidence and/or individuals for examination and comparison; providing expert testimony in court; developing a database and network software to match and exchange images of firearms evidence from violent crimes; and providing specialized forensic science training, analysis, and technical assistance to crime laboratory personnel and crime scene training to law enforcement personnel.

FBI employees analying fingerprints
The FBI has transitioned from a paper-based system for fingerprint matching to a completely automated system.

Investigative Technologies: The Investigative Technologies Division provides technical and tactical services in support of investigators and the Intelligence Community, including electronic surveillance, cybertechnology, and wireless and radio communications, as well as the development of new investigative technologies and techniques and the training of technical Agents and personnel.

Fingerprint Identification: The FBI maintains the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS), a state-of-the-art automated system which accepts and processes fingerprint submissions and related transactions electronically, and serves as a repository for criminal history records, which are accessed by users when searching for arrest record information, and maintains the FBI's national database of fingerprint features. IAFIS has the database of fingerprint features. IAFIS has the capability to process up to 62,500 ten-print fingerprint searches and 635 latent fingerprint searches daily. IAFIS is administered by the Criminal Justice Information Services Division, based in Clarksburg, West Virginia.

National Crime Information Center
: NCIC is a nationwide computerized information system accessed by more than 80,000 law enforcement and criminal justice agencies at all levels of government. It provides a computerized index of documented criminal justice information on crimes and criminals, and it includes locator-type files on missing and unidentified persons. NCIC averages 3.5 million transactions per day. This system includes the following files:

Gun File-records stolen and recovered weapons that are designed to expel a projectile by air, carbon dioxide, or explosive action

License Plate File
-records stolen license plates, acts as an early warning to police officers during traffic stops

Missing Persons File-provides centralized computerized system to help law enforcement locate individuals, including children, who are not wanted on any criminal charges

ATF Violent Felon File-lists individuals prohibited from possessing a firearm due to three or more felony convictions or serious drug offenses

Unidentified Persons File
-cross-references unidentified bodies against records in the Missing Persons File

US Secret Service Protective File-maintains names and other information on individuals who are believed to pose a threat to the President and/or others afforded protection by the US Secret Service

Vehicle File-assists in the recovery of a stolen vehicle, a vehicle involved in the commission of a crime, or a stolen part

Violent Gang and Terrorist Organizations File
-became operational in 1995 to identify violent gangs and their members; also contains records about terrorist organizations and their members

Wanted Persons File
-records individuals (including juveniles who will be tried as adults) for whom a federal warrant, a felony, or serious misdemeanor warrant is outstanding

Fingerprint Searches-stores and searches on the right index fingerprint; search inquiries compare the print to all fingerprint data on file (wanted persons and missing persons)

Convicted Sex Offender-records the names of individuals who are convicted sexual offenders or violent sexual predators

On October 21, 2000, David Starkey allegedly tried to abduct a woman at a shopping mall in Strongsville, Ohio. As the woman was getting into her car to drive home, Starkey pushed her in and got on top of her. Another shopper saw what was happening, grabbed the assailant, and pulled him out of the car. Although he fled, the suspect left behind a cigarette filter. The Cuyahoga County Coroner's Office extracted DNA from the filter and developed a DNA profile that was then searched in the Ohio State DNA database. The database search found a match with a DNA profile belonging to Starkey. The match led to Starkey's arrest in May 2001 and a conviction in July 2001.

Image of DNA identification
DNA Identification

Case Study: DNA Identification
In February 2001, Alvin Avon Braziel, Jr., while serving time for the 1997 sexual assault of a child, was charged with capital murder and aggravated assault in a 1993 case. The Texas Department of Public Safety's DNA database had linked Braziel's DNA from the 1997 case to the DNA profile from the previously unsolved 1993 shooting death of 27-year-old Douglas White and the rape of his 24-year-old wife, Lori. According to detectives, the armed assailant approached the victims on the campus of Eastfield Community College, forced the couple to lie on the ground, shot Douglas in the back of the head and then raped his wife. Over the past seven years, police had investigated more than 200 leads and had 40 potential suspects submit to blood testing. Even the show America's Most Wanted aired the case without results. Finally, the Texas CODIS database solved these brutal crimes.

On September 12, 1976, a 77-year-old white female was raped and beaten to death in her home. At the time of the initial investigation, fingerprint examiners from the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) developed one latent fingerprint on a piece of glass and lifted seven other prints. They manually compared the latents against the New Orleans criminal fingerprint file without success. In 1979, the fingerprints were sent to the FBI for entry into an automated search system, but no identifications were made.

In February 2001, NOPD's Cold Case Unit retrieved the fingerprints from their archive and conducted state and local IAFIS searches. Again, no identifications were made. The NOPD submitted the fingerprints to the FBI Latent Print Unit requesting IAFIS searches. A latent print examiner then conducted IAFIS searches of two latent fingerprints. One of the searches identified a suspect. Seven more identifications were done manually. NOPD requested a copy of the report to obtain an arrest warrant. On November 2, 2001, the suspect was arrested and confessed. He had been released from jail on October 2, 2001. NOPD is now investigating three additional rapes/homicides that fit his modus operandi.

Image of bullets and shellsOn June 2, 2000, a male security guard was murdered. Then during a robbery, two male store clerks were murdered. Firearms evidence was recovered from both scenes and submitted for examination. The .40 caliber bullets and cartridge cases were entered into the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network. The ballistics examination indicated that the same gun was used at both scenes. These cases were also linked with an aggravated robbery that occurred on May 20, 2000. Further investigation linked an aggravated robbery that occurred on February 11, 2000, when a wallet was stolen and a credit card used.

Uniform Crime Reporting Program: A nationwide cooperative effort of city, county, and state law enforcement to report crimes. The Crime Index consists of eight crimes: violent crimes of murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, and property crimes of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. The program issues an annual report called Crime in the United States that is intended to measure changes in the overall volume and rate of crime. You can purchase this report from the US Government Printing Office in either hard copy or CD-ROM. This publication is also available online at

National Instant Criminal Background Check System:
The Brady Act requires a background check on all persons who attempted to purchase a firearm. The FBI established the NICS Operation Center to enforce the provisions of the Brady Act and to manage, operate, and support NICS. The NICS mission is to enforce the Brady Act through a system that ensures the timely transfer of firearms to individuals who are not specifically prohibited under federal law, and that denies transfer to those who are prohibited from possessing or receiving a firearm. The FBI conducts NICS background checks for all firearms purchases for 27 states and territories and for long-gun purchases in 11 states.

Law Enforcement On-Line: A national interactive, computer communications and information capability for duly-constituted law enforcement agencies or approved members of an authorized law enforcement special interest group. LEO provides a state-of-the-art Intranet to link all levels of law enforcement nationwide. LEO offers real-time chat capability, news groups, distance learning, and articles on law enforcement issues, to name a few.




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