Many cities use different methods for gathering and analyzing data that can help develop an effective way to approach crime in their areas. There are many effective programs used. There are different approaches to keep this data current and easy to access. This case study will focus on one tool used in particular, CompStat. CompStat is a very good tool that is used by many agencies and cities across America. This paper will focus why CompStat was not effective in Baltimore, Maryland. The focus will also be on what could have been done differently that could have worked instead of the way it was used.
CompStat is a program that is used to synthesis and analyze the trends of crime in a neighborhood, town and city. This tool is used to effectively deal with crime in a productive way. This tool shows the “trouble areas” and provides important information based on the geographic area, population and helps to provide good solutions to deal with the problem. This tool can filter data by certain categories that are input into the system to expedite the information gathering process. CompStat is based on reported crime data that comes from investigations that is already completed (Carter, p. 90, 2009). This tool relies on crime mapping and can pinpoint the areas that are crime specific; meaning, the officers using this tool can pull the information for a certain area just by robbery, or thefts. They do not have to look at all of the crime. This tool also is useful in keeping those that are known in the neighborhood that hang out or are rivals classified by the crimes that they have committed in the past.
CompStat is set-up, when implemented correctly, using four concepts, have accurate and timely intelligence, that is, to have the intelligence gathered by the force and evaluate the data and be able to produce the statistics and the trends of the crime. Second, have effective tactics. This is, to have an identified problem and focus on it. Third, once the problem is identified, rapidly deploy the forces needed to proceed and fix the problem. Get to the issue before it escalates and get to the crime immediately. Last, have a fierce assessment of the deployment plan. If the plan was effective, continue with the plan and develop it as needed; if the plan did not work, find something else that works. This cycle makes this management useful to most that use it.
Just as there are good things about this tool, there are also bad aspects of it as well. For instance, the way the program was set up, it was during a period where crime was at a high point. Once the commanders and those that was in charge of the program got used to the program, there was a realization that the success of the program depended on their planning and deployment of resources. In order to make CompStat look useful, the commanders would not report all of the crimes, or input the crimes into the system. This caused the crimes to “go down,” at least on paper. Another downfall, once the officers have been increased in the areas that need more saturation, the criminals that are being targeted move to a new area until the police presence dies down in the area. This causes the crime to rise in some areas and fall in others. Finally, CompStat has reportedly, though not founded, caused the complaints against police departments to rise due to the aggressive policing that CompStat calls for.
CompStat was not successful in Baltimore, Maryland. The Commissioner at the time that this tool was put on hold stated that he wanted to get new ways to revamp CompStat. His intent was not to completely do away with it. The reason that this tool was not successful was because the Chiefs of the stations in each area were falsifying their statistics. The stations felt the pressure to make their precinct better and therefore felt that they had to lie on their monthly