Prosecutors drop gun charges over and over. Some suspects go on to kill.

From 2014 through 2018 the Charlotte Observer found that Mecklenburg County prosecutors dismissed 68 percent of weapons charges, a higher rate than any other urban county in North Carolina. Mecklenburg’s high dismissal rate means that defendants who commit crimes there have a greater chance of avoiding punishment than in other North Carolina counties. Suspects who…

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AUDIO: How to track and report on gun violence

There is no perfect or universal way to classify a mass shooting. As such, reliable, nuanced data on the topic is sparse. And further complicating the reporter’s job is the way even the most human stories can become fuel for the right-versus-left fire. It’s with these challenges in mind that three reporters and researchers came…

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IRE Radio Podcast | Cracking the Crime Stats

Welcome to another episode of the IRE Radio Podcast. On this week’s episode we’re talking about crime – everything from fact-checking police stats to building databases to track gun violence. Here’s the lineup: Michael Berens of The Seattle Times gets things started with a story about an odd beam of light, some dead rabbits and…

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Tracking guns and the criminal justice system

By Jordan Gass-Poore’ Investigative journalists shared their under-the-gun experiences with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Thursday during the panel “Criminal justice: Guns” at this year’s IRE Conference in San Antonio. Ted Crest with the nonprofit organization Criminal Justice Journalists moderated the panel and provided national-level story ideas that reporters might…

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Don’t miss at IRE 2013: Criminal Justice investigations

The 2013 IRE Conference in San Antonio features several panels on criminal justice reporting, including the following sponsored by Criminal Justice Journalists: Criminal justice and gunsFeaturing Gerardo Reyes of Univision, Raquel Rutledge of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and moderator Ted Gest of Criminal Justice Journalists Criminal justice and prisonsFeaturing Scott Henson of the Grits for Breakfast…

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Fear drives lack of public access in Maine

By Judy Meyer Maine is moving in the wrong direction when it comes to public access. Blame technology. The very computer systems and databases created to improve the flow of information and ease public access are now being held up, by lawmakers, as troublesome portals to be sealed shut in the interest of personal privacy.…

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Behind the Story: How the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel learned about an ATF sting gone wrong

Credit: Lou Saldivar, Journal Sentinel Graphics Editor John Diedrich and Raquel Rutledge of the Journal Sentinel had an opportunity to gain rare insight into an undercover government operation in 2012. Their watchdog reporting on the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ sting operation in Milwaukee revealed the operation may have done more harm…

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