Friday, May 14, 2010

Compstat in New Jersey

With the dispersion of the police administrators--trained under the Mayor Giuliani/Police Chief Bratton partnership that drastically reduced crime in New York City several years ago--across the country, the results are being felt, as this article from City Journal notes.

An excerpt.

“In March, Newark, New Jersey—not so long ago dubbed “America’s Most Dangerous City”—celebrated its first homicide-free month in 44 years. Overall, since 2006, Newark has seen its number of shootings cut in half and its murder rate drop by a third. Only Los Angeles boasts more impressive numbers over the same period. The city’s crime turnaround is a testament to Newark mayor Cory Booker and his handpicked police director, Garry McCarthy, and it shows that NYPD-style proactive policing can succeed in even the nation’s most troubled cities.

“When Booker, who is seeking reelection on May 11, first tapped McCarthy from the top echelon of the NYPD to serve as Newark’s police director, the appointment was met with skepticism and even outright hostility. Newark is a notoriously insular place, and the hiring of a white outsider to lead the largely African-American city’s police force was a controversial move. McCarthy, however, soon began to win the trust of community leaders by meeting with them and listening to their concerns. As McCarthy puts it, “No one wants crime down more than the religious and community leaders of Newark; they have been full partners in our success.”

“When McCarthy arrived in Newark in October 2006, the department was a mess and crime was out of control. One in four police officers never left their desks; the department’s gang unit didn’t work weekends. McCarthy began by implementing the now-famous Compstat crime-tracking and accountability system that proved so effective in New York. Via Compstat, McCarthy gained control of the department and pushed resources out onto the streets, directing them to the neighborhoods that needed them the most. McCarthy also brought “Operation Impact” across the Hudson, an initiative that identifies high-crime zones and floods them with new police recruits….

“Many academics still reject the idea that police can control crime. Some have tried to attribute Newark’s crime reduction to various external factors, including dumb luck. But as usual, they overlook the obvious answer: smart police work directed by strong leadership. In fact, McCarthy is just one of more than a dozen former NYPD officials who have taken over police departments across the country, brought with them the strategies and tactics that worked so well in Gotham, and achieved similar results. Most notable is former NYPD Commissioner William Bratton, who, as chief of the Los Angeles police from 2002 to 2009, reduced homicides by 58 percent and greatly improved police-community relations.

“This NYPD diaspora is transforming American policing from coast to coast, but nowhere more impressively than in Newark. There were nine shootings in Newark on one of McCarthy’s first days on the job. “I spent the entire day going from shooting to shooting to shooting,” he notes. Today, entire weeks go by without a single shooting. As a result, there is a new feeling of optimism in the city, with stores and restaurants opening up in long-dormant buildings and new condos and parks rising from vacant lots. It’s quite a transformation to behold: “America’s Most Dangerous City” is now leading the country in crime reduction and proving, once again, that, properly led, police can cut crime.”