Bourne - The Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) is responsible for processing crime scenes and collecting forensic evidence for all Cape Cod law enforcement agencies requesting such assistance. A review of the 2018 BCI call volume shows 437 commercial and residential breaking and enterings (B&E). In 2017, the total number of B&E’s was 508 and in 2016 the total was 648.
Of those 437 calls for forensic assistance in 2018, 79 fingerprints were identified, providing crucial evidence which will assist local law enforcement in not only identifying and prosecuting the suspect, but potentially recovering the stolen property and obtaining restitution for the victims.
“The teamwork between the local police and the Sheriff’s BCI Unit is a reminder that when police agencies work together, public safety is improved and more crimes are solved” stated Sheriff James Cummings.
In Massachusetts, the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) contains millions of fingerprint exemplars that are electronically and quickly compared to unknown prints recovered from crime scenes. AFIS then provides a list of potential candidates that have similar fingerprint features which are then closely analyzed by the BCI Officer who ultimately makes an elimination or positive identification.
The Sheriff’s BCI Unit Supervisor, Matt Smith proudly explained that “if a print is left behind at a crime scene and the prints are in the systems, with AFIS and BCI’s officers, we’re going to identify you!”
While forced B&E’s have declined in recent years, one concerning trend in Barnstable County that is not improving is the amount of no-force breaks. Unlocked doors and open windows of residences and motor vehicles remains an attraction to criminals seeking a quick and easy theft of money or personal items. Often times, the suspect merely has to reach in to grab an item and they’re gone in an instant.
Sheriff Cummings added, “Residents should take the time to secure their personal belonging, whether it is their house or vehicle. The simple act of locking doors will encourage the potential thief to pass on a targeted house or vehicle. Don’t make it easy for them.”