This project is among many in the IACP, 2018 Project Safe Neighborhood Program, which aims to improve law enforcement capacity to create safer communities through crime reduction. This project specifically has been working towards interdicting the trafficking of firearms to disrupt gang activity since its launch in 2005. The program has been functioning well with modifications that keep getting implemented to support its goals. This essay analyses the elements of the program that have helped it achieve its goal and those that have not by assessing its progress since 2005.
The eTrace web program tracks recovered firearms and is provided to enforcement agencies for free 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The enforcement agencies, in return, register their programs and sign a memorandum of understanding with the ATF BUREAU. From that, the data collected is used to link suspects to a certain firearm during investigations, detect patterns related to sources of certain types of firearms both locally and internationally, and identify any potential traffickers. The process of utilizing the data collected from the web program includes submission of firearm trace requests from different agencies, monitoring of the progress of this tracing, retrieval of the completed results, and further queries on firearm-related data questions.
Due to the process prompts above, the system has developed investigative leads for certain cases hence improving the criminal investigation process. The deduction of certain variables that affect or influence the process of firearm tracings, such as time and resources. This has further helped advance the system’s way of processing data to ensure more efficient results and, hence, better the program. In addition to that, the quality of trace-related information has improved quite a lot in the past few years. The system has also been helping the law enforcement in fast-tracking the monitoring process for the tracing through the provision of services such as the generation of statistical reports, having downloadable results, and the development of an analytical research process within the program, all of which have helped in improving the data processing methodologies for the program. All these steps and achievements have helped the law enforcement community develop a united front towards curbing or reducing gun activity-related crime rates.
However, despite the effort that this program has employed among other programs to achieve a united front against gun-related criminal activity, there has not been a reciprocated reduction in the said activity since its inauguration. This could be a result of different elements in the internal and external environment, such as lacking the development of a diversified system from the start and the gradual growth process the program began with in the start. For example, the former points out that the program was established about four years before establishing Spanish and other languages in it. The latter refers to the slow process that encompassed the beginning years of the program. Approximately 6,000 law enforcement agencies in the USA are enrolled, with 43 foreign countries in the picture (IACP, 2018).
Despite some of the drawbacks the system has experienced both internally and externally, it is currently doing a brilliant job in achieving its said goals.