CIS 500 Information System Decision Making
January 16, 2013
In an effort to effectively compare and contrast the application of information technology (IT) to optimize police departments’ performance to reduce crime versus random patrols of the streets, we first need to examine what information technology is available to police and further more what information technology means. Information technology is “the collection of computing systems used by an organization” (Turban & Volonino, 2011). According to the Omega Group, who does analysis and mapping with patrol and fire response for successful implementation strategies, the definition of predictive policing as stated by NIJ (A National Discussion on Predictive Policing) is “any policing strategy or tactic that develops and uses information and advanced analysis to inform forward-thinking crime prevention” (Silva, 2012). Technology is used in conjunction with predictive policing to implement different information and operations such as crowd control, police patrol, early detection of repeat offenders, traffic control and management, and even neighborhood watches.
Today information technology (IT) is used to optimize the performance of police departments’ and reduce crime however in the past random patrols of the streets was the way that police reduced crimes. Before the 90’s New York City had a high crime rate but since the implementation of a data driven management model named COMPSTAT the crime rate dropped tremendously. In fact New York, the city that never sleeps, is said to be the “safest big city in America” according to an article by Dave Grossi (Grossi, 2008). COMPSTAT is short for computer statistics or comparative statistics and is a data driven model used by police to manage and reduce crime. COMPSTAT began under “the Rudy Giuliani administration and was overseen by Commissioner William Bratton and Deputy Commissioner Jack Maple” (Grossi, 2008). Police Commissioner, William Bratton introduced COMPSTAT to the New York City Police Department in 1994. COMPSTAT was created to change how police view crimes. It was created as a tool to not just respond to crimes after they were committed but as proactive step to preventing crimes from happening in the first place. COMPSTAT is not a software program but rather tracks and takes stats of high crime activity. Once this is tracked the organizational management tool is then used to actively target crime in the areas that it is most needed. COMPSTAT has many different advantages such as accountability, information sharing, and encourages public communication. The way COMPSTAT forces accountability is by holding commanders and other police force responsible for knowing the details of the crime as well as devising a plan to rid the crime. The second advantage was through information sharing. COMPSTAT encourages information sharing throughout the police force as well as other organization in an effort to eliminate habitual crimes. The third and final advantage listed is public communication because COMPSTAT is such a versital tool that it can be shared with the public in various ways in an effort to gain community support to stop crimes as well. COMPSTAT has played such a pivotal role in crime analysis for policing that it is hard to imagine the days before it was introduced. Police use to randomly patrol the streets in an effort to prevent crime from occurring. Police patrolling was known as the traditional form of policing which was suppose to prevent criminal activity, maintain order, and protect citizens as well as their property. Not to take from tradition random patrols of the street has been replaced by COMPSTAT for good reason. The city streets were overcrowded therefore safe streets were fundamental as well as detrimental to the social contract of New York. There were no systematic processes of preventing crime which lead to a lot of wasted time running around answering 911 calls. This