CompStat is the name of a specific program implemented by the NYPD in 1994 (Silverman, 2006). Silverman (2006, p. 267) has described it “as perhaps the most important organizational innovation in policing during the latter half of the 20th century.”
The name CompStat comes from a computer file called comparative statistics. Central to the program are weekly crime strategy sessions conducted at police headquarters. At these weekly meetings, computer-generated maps are used to provide a wide variety of crime details. Precinct commanders are held responsible for any increases in crime and must present innovative solutions to manage their precincts’ crime problems (Dempsey and Forst, 2010). In discussions about what the computer maps indicate about crime problems, crime fighting techniques are developed for implementation.
There is a four-step process that is the essence of CompStat:
- 1. Timely and accurate intelligence
- 2. Use of effective tactics in response to that intelligence
- 3. Rapid deployment of personnel and resources
- 4. Relentless follow-up and assessment (Dempsey and Forst, 2010)
What CompStat allows the NYPD and other police departments who have also adopted the use of CompStat to do is to pinpoint and analyze crime patterns almost instantly, respond in the most appropriate manner, quickly shift personnel and other resources as needed, assess the impact and viability of anticrime strategies, identify bright, up-and-coming individuals from within the ranks of the police department, and transform the organization more fluidly and more effectively (Dodenhoff, 1996).