New Chicago gun crime intelligence center to track illegal firearms

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A new gun crime intelligence center is opening in Chicago as part of a new concept to fight violent crime and firearms trafficking in the Chicago area.

The center is now central command in law enforcement's effort to track illegal guns used in crimes. And thanks to new technology and cooperation, authorities said they will be able to work more quickly and effectively.

"This is cool stuff, the center is a smart and sophisticated way of using cutting-edge science and technology to solve more violent crimes," said U.S. Attorney Zach Fardon.

The new system will help investigators quickly identify guns like the 13 semi-automatic rifles stolen from a south side rail yard last month, if they should be used in a crime.

Authorities said 60 percent of guns like these used in local crimes originate from the Chicago and northwest Indiana areas. The computers can link guns to crimes police never thought to check, or never had the manpower to check.

"And that's frankly where we've not done a really good job in the past," said Carl Vasilko, ATF special agent in charge. "We get the hits, we link the crimes, but we don't have the resources and the analysts to the tedious work of trying to piece these puzzles together."

And by integrating information from numerous federal, state and local agencies using advanced ballistics technology and databases, authorities believe they will be able to get guns off the streets more quickly.

They also expect to make a significant dent in the number of gun-related violent crimes. The vast majority of those crimes they say are committed by estimated 150,000 members of the Chicago area's 130 gangs.
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