Information Systems for Decision Making
October 21, 2012
In 1994, the New York City Police Department adopted a law enforcement crime fighting strategy known as COMPSTAT (COMPuter STATistics). COMPSTAT uses Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to map the locations of where crimes occur, identify “ hotspots”, and map problem areas. COMPSTAT has amassed a wealth of historical crime data. Mathematicians have designed and developed algorithms that run against the historical data to predict future crimes for police departments. This is known as predictive policing. Predictive policing has led to a drop in burglaries, automobile thefts, and other crimes in some cities.
From the 1800’s until about the 1980’s the strategy of many agencies was to have uniformed police randomly patrol the streets, the outcome of these patrols were to hopefully deter crimes with the police presence, interrupt crimes in progress and to apprehend criminals. Since then the random police patrol has in fact lessened with the use of IT to optimize the patrolling. IT is a very important part of law enforcement since we live in a world where talking to the police is shunned upon, so if we can use a software to track and deter crime then it will be vey beneficial. The goal of this was to reestablish relationships between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. With the use of IT together the two parties would implement strategies that would examine and resolve many of the issues or concerns in the community, but most importantly the trust between the two groups would be rebuilt. Random patrolling is still necessary to let the community see the police presence. Without the community physically seeing police their opinions of them would be negative. It’s very important to know that IT is used in addition to the normal patrolling method not as a replacement.
The four key components of COMPSTAT are time and accurate intelligence, effective...