Cities Find New Uses For Crime-Fighting Tool
Cities of all sizes have begun correlating daily crime report data using Computerized Statistics (CompStat) programs in order to ensure criminal hotspots receive adequate attention from law enforcement officers.
According to detective Jeff Godown, CompStat director for the Los Angeles Police Department, about 60 percent of U.S. cities utilize some variation of the program, which gives precinct commanders the power to direct law enforcement strategy and make the best of their often limited resources. “It allows you to put the cops where the crimes are occurring,” said Godown. “There’s a litany of different entities that we’re starting to CompStat.”
The programs are also being implemented by local governments for other public services and can be used to file reports, track worker performance, gather 311 data, and generally improve efficiency and service.
California’s Long Beach Police Department has seen crime continually decrease in the three years it has used CompStat, and local officials are now considering using such a system in a citywide performance management initiative currently in the works.
The programs can save money by reducing overtime and absenteeism in major cities such as Baltimore, which expects to save $350 million in the first five years of its Citistat public works program after an initial investment of just $20,000.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) from American City and County (11/06) ; Vol. 121, No. 12, P. 20; Brock, Ed.