Bomb Arson Tracking System (BATS)
The Bomb Arson Tracking System (BATS) is law enforcement and public safety’s link to the U.S. Bomb Data Center (USBDC), which serves as the national database for explosives and arson related information. Its purpose is to collect data and to provide bomb technicians and investigators with analytical products to assist in the investigation of the criminal misuse of explosives and acts of arson.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the USBDC developed BATS to provide state/local agencies a system for the reporting of arson and explosives-related incidents to the national database as well as to provide them with no-cost case management technology to simplify and standardize investigative reporting methodology and track related administrative tasks. BATS includes the capability to profile improvised explosive devices (IEDs) by the most common components (container, ignition, main charge, switch, power source, and enhancements). As part of ATF’s Strategic Mission, the USBDC facilitates case analysis and comparison of this information in order to provide investigative leads and intelligence. (ref: 28 CFR 0.131(e), implementing 18 USC 846b)
Bomb technicians and investigators can use BATS to perform trend analysis and compare incidents for similarities in motives, device construction, suspects and crime methodologies for possible investigative leads nationwide. Images of post-blast scenes, IEDs, and crime scenes can be shared through the BATS secure web connection. BATS also includes a functionality to use the program as a case management system, allowing users to build their investigation in BATS and collaborate with other agencies, while maintaining operational security.
The USBDC serves as the national repository for explosives and arson-related incidents as established by federal explosives laws. In 2004, the Attorney General mandated that
all of the Department’s arson and explosives incident databases [be consolidated] into a single database, which is now known as the Bomb Arson Tracking System (BATS). This was reinforced in 2010 by the Deputy Attorney General’s Office. (ref: Attorney General’s August 11, 2004, Memorandum Regarding the Coordination of Explosives Investigations and Related Matters; and Deputy Attorney General’s August 3, 2010, Protocol for Assigning Lead Agency Jurisdiction in Explosives Investigations).
BATS contains information on more than 247,000 explosives and arson related incidents investigated by ATF and other federal, state and local law enforcement and public safety agencies.
ATF has been collecting, storing and analyzing records on explosives and arson incidents since 1976. ATF, through the U.S. Department of the Treasury, was mandated by Congress pursuant to Public Law 104-208, the 1997 Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act, to establish a national repository for incidents involving arson and the criminal misuse of explosives. This authority was later transferred with ATF to the authority of the Attorney General of the United States with the passage of the Homeland Security Act of 2002. (ref: 28 CFR 0.131(e), implementing 18 USC 846b).
ATF and the USBDC released the latest version of BATS to the community in 2011. BATS (Version 5) features numerous improvements developed as a result of feedback from system users, and has a new and improved look and feel with even more investigative resources for the explosives and arson investigative community.
BATS has been formally endorsed by the International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI) and the International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators (IABTI).
For more information on BATS, please visit the website at http://atf.gov/applications/bats/.