Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "The Trace" ...

  • Free to Shoot Again

    In cities from coast to coast, the odds that a shooter will be brought to justice are abysmally low and dropping. Police make an arrest in fewer than half of the murders committed with firearms. If the victim survives being shot, the chance of arrest drops to 1 out of 3. Staffing constraints are so dire at many police departments that thousands of nonfatal shooting cases are never even assigned a detective. The shooters are left free to strike again, fueling cycles of violence and eroding the public’s trust in law enforcement. The Trace, in partnership with BuzzFeed News and later WTTW, published “Free to Shoot Again,” a series of stories that interrogates this failure in policing and the toll that it takes on the people who live in the communities most impacted by gun violence.
  • Free to Shoot Again

    In cities from coast to coast, the odds that a shooter will be brought to justice are abysmally low and dropping. Police make an arrest in fewer than half of the murders committed with firearms. If the victim survives being shot, the chance of arrest drops to 1 out of 3. Staffing constraints are so dire at many police departments that thousands of nonfatal shooting cases are never even assigned a detective. The shooters are left free to strike again, fueling cycles of violence and eroding the public’s trust in law enforcement. The Trace, in partnership with BuzzFeed News and later WTTW, published “Free to Shoot Again,” a series of stories that interrogates this failure in policing and the toll that it takes on the people who live in the communities most impacted by gun violence.
  • Easy Targets

    There are some sixty-three thousand licensed gun dealers in the U.S.—nearly twice the number of McDonald’s and Starbucks combined. But, unlike other businesses that deal in dangerous products, such as pharmacies or explosives makers, most gun stores face no legal requirements to secure their merchandise. As a result, there has been a sharp increase in gun-store thefts. This story focuses on a group of thieves who preyed on gun stores in North Carolina, stealing more than two hundred weapons over a four-month period. The Trace and The New Yorker relied on thousands of public records and more than fifty interviews to track these guns through a network of black-market profiteers.
  • The Trace: NRA Lobbyist Marion Hammer

    In this investigative profile, Mike Spies exposes how the NRA’s most powerful lobbyist turned Florida into a lab for the nation’s most aggressive gun laws.
  • Fatal Foster Care: When newborns exposed to drugs in the womb are taken from their mothers, the results can be deadly

    Tighter drug laws in the United States increasingly mandate that newborns be stripped from drug-taking birth parents, and often placed in foster care. Even when the traces of drugs are minimal. But foster care is fraught with problems. Since 2000, at least 10 drug-exposed newborns have died in foster care — deaths identified in a New York City News Service analysis of court records, local news stories and interviews with family advocates across the nation. While a tiny fraction of the approximately 18,000 drug-exposed infants put into foster care over the same period, these tragedies show that foster care is not always a safer option for drug-exposed newborns. The number of foster care deaths is most likely larger since state officials often cite privacy laws barring them from disclosing details.
  • Science Casts Doubt on FBI Bullet Evidence

    This story investigated the validity of a forensics technique, comparative lead bullet analysis, that has been used by the FBI crime laboratory since the late 1960's. FBI scientists determine the trace metal profile of a lead slug and then compare bullet profiles. They found there was not a solid scientific backing for this technique and that new research indicates that the conclusions the FBI examiners drew about relationships between were, at best, unwarranted. There was never evidence to conclude that the fact that two bullets share similar trace element profiles means they are in some way connected, and there is now evidence against that conclusion. This is important because the technique is commonly used in murder cases where traditional ballistics cannot be used and, often where there is little evidence.