Predictive Policing

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In comparing the use of information technology versus random patrol, I see it this way. Initially, the random patrol was implemented in an effort to deter crime. If an officer is able to make their rounds in an unpredictable pattern, the threat of crime should be reduced. COMPSTAT is a tool available to the officer to give direction (or emphasis) to their patrol. Assimilating available intelligence is labor-intensive and time-consuming. With the advent of COMPSTAT, the officer now has timely intelligence not previously available. Using COMPSTAT as an aid, the officer now has a better idea where to focus their attention and can adjust their patrol accordingly making it less random and more directed based upon analysis and statistics. COMPSTAT is not a replacement for an officer on patrol. Instead, COMPSTAT is a tool used by an officer to be more effective based on crime analysis and probability. COMPSTAT has four basic functions of input, processing, output and feedback. Input is comprised of gathering accurate and timely crime intelligence comprised of “reviewing, inspecting, auditing, analyzing, and information sharing” (Squires, 2011). Current, accurate information is essential to the COMPSTAT process because people will be using it to make time sensitive decisions. The information is expected to be credible and trustworthy. The various crime data is loaded into COMPSTAT on a daily basis. Crime inputs have many sources including the agency’s archives, service calls, field interview cards, incident reports and the agency’s own IT systems. Other inputs may include parole and probation matters, gun arrests and sex-offender residences. The second basic function of COMPSTAT is processing. Jack Maple says “Nobody ever got in trouble because crime numbers on their watch went up. . . . [T]rouble arose only if the commanders didn’t know why the numbers were up or didn’t have a plan to address the problems.” ( Maple, 2000 ) The...
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