NEW YORK (PIX11) — There has been an increase in ghost guns being used in shootings across New York City. 

PIX11 News went inside the NYPD’s Ballistics Lab to see what happens after ghost guns are taken off the streets. The NYPD showed us they are not completely untraceable.  

Capt. Matthew Strong said each bullet that is fired from a gun tells a story. Inside the lab, he fires a ghost gun into a tank, disassembles the barrel, and then his team of officers looks at the etching left on the fired bullet through a microscope. 

“When a firearm is discharged it leaves certain features behind,” Strong said. 

That feature is a valuable lead for detectives who are working on cases.  

The information is then put into the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network or NIBIN database to see if the gun has been used before. Police said the turnaround time for the NIBIN information is about five days.  

Ghost guns are an epidemic that has blindsided law enforcement. So far this year, police have recovered 322 ghost guns compared to 316 last year.  

The department is hopeful it will be able to turn those numbers around. 

“It feels really important, it’s good to be a part of the process,” Criminalist Robertson said.