Friday, August 27, 2010

Compstat Updated

This version of the Compstat approach to policing is working marvelously in Memphis, as reported by the Commercial Appeal, as it did when it was first unveiled years ago in New York.

An excerpt.

“The department's Blue CRUSH (Crime Reduction Utilizing Statistical History) initiative uses a daily analysis of computer data to define the city's crime "hot spots" so supervisors know exactly where to put their manpower, Police Director Larry Godwin said.

“Godwin teamed with University of Memphis criminologist Richard Janikowski to help develop Blue CRUSH years ago, and both continually study ways to tweak it.

“Godwin believes the innovative business model has played a key role in reducing crime. He also points to organizational changes since 2005, including sending officers deep under cover to infiltrate gangs and drug rings; creating a felony assault unit to investigate shootings, stabbings and severe beatings; and getting officers reliable equipment.

“The results, according to Janikowski: The city had 28.8 percent fewer crimes during the first six months of 2010, compared with the same period when the program went citywide in 2006. Overall crime dipped from 33,160 reported incidents to 23,598.

“The city also had 28.9 percent fewer violent crimes and 28.8 percent fewer property crimes, according to the professor's crime analysis.

"We're on pace to have 20,000 fewer victims" this year compared with 2006, Godwin announced at a news conference Thursday.

“The downward trend is continuing this year compared with last year, with a 14 percent decrease in overall crime from Jan. 1 to Aug. 19, police statistics show.

“Godwin also credits the drop to an emphasis on accountability from the command staff down to each officer on the street.

“The director created the position of colonel and assigned one at every precinct. Instead of monthly gatherings, he holds weekly meetings where the commanders must answer for crime in their areas.

“So each day, Tillman Station's commander, Col. Jeff Clark, wakes up early, pours a cup of coffee and pecks on his BlackBerry to search for his precinct's crime du jour. That's why on Tuesday, his officers knew they had a problem with daytime residential burglaries and they knew which neighborhoods were being targeted.

"Blue CRUSH is about putting police in the right place on the right day at the right time and you'll either prevent crime or catch someone committing a crime," Janikowski said.”