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Officials hope efforts at new Chicago intelligence center will result in less gun crime

Officials hope Chicago Crime Gun Intelligence Center will reduce violence
Officials hope Chicago Crime Gun Intelligence Center will reduce violence 02:11

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Real-time gun tracing and ballistics testing is the goal of a newly-formed Gun Intelligence Center in the Loop.

The federal, state, and local collaboration of agencies hopes to speed up the process of holding gun offenders accountable.

"In today's world, we've got to be intelligence-led and technology-driven," said Deputy U.S. Attorney General Lisa Monaco.

Monaco explained that the new Crime Gun Intelligence Center, or CGIC – at Jackson Boulevard and Wells Street - will expand on the center already maintained by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The ATF has a database of over 6 million pieces of ballistics evidence.

"The ability to squeeze every last piece of evidence and information out of a gun used at a crime, to help both track down the shooter and also figure out who the shooter's supplier was for that firearm," said ATF Director Steven Dettelbach.

Chicago Police Supt. Larry Snelling said the collaboration - which will be composed of 65 agents, officers, analysts, and prosecutors all under one roof working together to get shooters off the streets - will be focused on speed.

"Each gun we recover that has been used in a crime is traced within 24 hours," Snelling said.

The Chicago center is far from the first of its kind in the country, although CBS 2 is told Chicago's Crime Gun Intelligence Center will have a particularly unique emphasis on the role of prosecutors.

Columbus, Ohio; New York City; and Denver have seen success with their models. Denver's was the pilot when it was created in 2013.

A 2020 study of the Denver center's effectiveness found "an immediate drop in violent crime with a firearm" when the intelligence center opened. There was also an immediate drop in robberies.

The stakeholders involved hope Chicago sees the same tangible reduction in gun crime.

"This is a higher level of work that's being done here," said Snelling, "a more intelligent way of getting to the bottom of gun crimes."

Thirteen different law enforcement agencies will have representation in the Crime Gun Intelligence Center. The federal government has invested more than $40 million in such centers across the country. 

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