Law enforcement experts can't say for certain whether CompStat is responsible for reducing crimes in cities across the nation. But even without direct proof that CompStat works, it does seem to operate on sound logic and common sense.
CompStat often is confused with a computer program. In fact, it is a law management system that pinpoints areas of high crime and then enlists business owners and residents in trying to reduce crime there.
The Rock Hill Police Department has been using the CompStat system for about 18 months. The successful effort to confront a surge in vehicle break-ins offers a good example of how the system works.
First, officers used statistics to determine that a large number of break-ins were occurring in and around Manchester Village and the Rock Hill Galleria, two prime shopping areas. Police met with store officials and asked them to report any suspicious activities. The department warned residents about the thefts through fliers, a CN2 cable commercial and a handout in city utility bills. And patrols in the area were increased.
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In a year, break-ins dropped by 22 percent.
Too many factors are involved to attribute the drop entirely to the CompStat approach. But It is difficult to see how the methodology would not have a positive effect.
It was a systematic effort to compare notes with residents, uncover crime patterns and maximize resources in hot spots. That approach would make sense whether it has an official-sounding title or not.
The department continues to use CompStat. Police Chief John Gregory holds strategy sessions every other week, and community members have been invited to offer feedback on the program. Police officials hope to work more with other departments and agencies, such as security forces at Winthrop University and York Technical College and the York County Sheriff's Office.
Call it what you will, this sounds like a good way to attack crime.
Law enforcement management system seems to be working for Rock Hill police.