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COMPSTAT: Police Management & Feedback System

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the Chief of Police Magazine that stated
Compstat is a "strategic control system" designed for the collection and feedback of information on crime and related quality of life issues.1 The CompStat process can be summarized in one simple statement: "Collect, analyze, and map crime data and other essential police performance measures on a regular basis, and hold police managers accountable for their performance as measured by these data.

However, Boston, San Francisco, and San Diego also realized significant crime reductions without adopting the Compstat management paradigm. These cities were against adopting the "Broken Windows" strategy and were critical of the method as being overaggressive policing. In fact, some critics of Compstat proposed that Compstat was detrimental to public relations and further alienated the community from the police and law enforcement. This was because Compstat and Broken Windows focused on quality-of-life issues in New York City and took on a proactive method of preventing crime. This created a perception of an overzealous law enforcement program. It led the public to believe that in upholding quality-of-life enforcement, the police and law enforcement officers were losing sight of the smaller, petty infractions.

Boston, San Francisco, and San Diego did not waver into quality-of-life policing even though they maintained the core principles of community policing. The 1980s and 1990s were a progressive era for these police departments as well. Working with the community became an inherent part of the policing system. A few changes that helped these police departments function better were the increasingly diverse workforce, a continuously updated communication system, and the application of community policing.

In conclusion, though Compstat gained incredible fame due to its effectiveness in New York City, it was not the sole cause of crime reduction in the United States. Other cities, using other methods, were able to achieve the same results. Therefore, it is likely that the effectiveness of programs such as Compstat is dependent on various factors such as the nature of city, crime statistics, ethnicity of the peoples, and the size of the city.

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Compstat

Compstat has been applied to various cities such as New York, New Orleans, and Minneapolis. What are the trends in crime reduction since Compstat "arrived" in these cities? What is the pattern in New York City when compared to the rest of the United States since the advent of Compstat?

•What can the differences in crime reduction rates be attributed to? Other than Compstat, what are the other changes in law enforcement that could have led to these improvements in crime statistics?

•Compstat was an importation of measured outcomes and accountability. The difficulty in applying the measured outcomes was the weight placed on crime reduction.

•Can a management accountability program such as Compstat be the sole reason for the crime decreases? What could be the other reasons? How do Early Intervention (EI) systems further ensure police accountability? How are EI systems different from Compstat?

•Ironically, the police and law enforcement agencies (such as the NYPD) lauded the successes of Compstat in successfully reducing crime. However, how much accountability should the police and law enforcement organizations have when crime increases? The Compstat program has been a resounding success; can the decreases be sustained?
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COMPSTAT Review

(Article Resources)

• DeLorenzi, D., Shane, J. and Amendola, K. (2006). "The CompStat Process: Managing Performance on the Pathway to Leadership" in The Police Chief, September Issue,Vol. 73, No. 9. URL: http://www.policechiefmagazine.org/magazine/index.cfm?fuseaction=display_arch&article_id=998&issue_id=92006

• Godown, J. (2009). "The CompStat Process: Four Principles for Managing Crime Reduction," from The Police Chief, vol. 76, no. 8, August Issue. URL: http://www.policechiefmagazine.org/magazine/index.cfm?fuseaction=display&article_id=1859&issue_id=82009

• Peak, K. (2009). "Community Policing and CompStat: Merged, or Mutually Exclusive?" from The Police Chief, vol. 76, no. 12, December Issue. URL: http://www.policechiefmagazine.org/magazine/index.cfm?fuseaction=display_arch&article_id=1968&issue_id=122009

Compstat, according to the Institute for Governmental Service and Research (IGSR) of the University of Maryland (2015) is "a management process within a performance management framework that synthesizes analysis of crime and disorder data, strategic problem solving, and a clear accountability structure. Ideally, CompStat facilitates accurate and timely analysis of crime and disorder data, which is used to identify crime patterns and problems. Based on this analysis, tailored responses are implemented through rapid deployment of personnel and resources." Accountability is structured within the assessment system of the forces applying Compstat. Essential principles include, accurate and timely intelligence, effective tactics, rapid ...

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The solution provides information, assistance and advise in tackling the task (see above) on the topic of COMPSTAT and policing. Resources are listed for further exploration of the topic.

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