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Compstat

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MANAGING CRIME AND QUALITY OF LIFE USING COMPSTAT: SPECIFIC ISSUES IN IMPLEMENTATION AND PRACTICE
By Dr. Vincent E. Henry*
I. INTRODUCTION
The highly effective management model or paradigm that has come to be known as Compstat was first developed within the New York Police Department in 1994 as a process for managing crime and quality of life in New York City. Compstat was developed in response to a very specific set of immediate needs confronting the NYPD at that time: the compelling need to bring spiralling rates of crime and disorder to within manageable bounds and to refocus the NYPD on its primary mission of effectively ensuring public safety by reducing crime and violence. Since its introduction in early 1994, Compstat has proven to be highly effective in achieving the goals for which it was initially intended. Over time it has also evolved and grown from a basic and fairly rudimentary process involving the collection and analysis of crime data as well as a mechanism for ensuring accountability and information-sharing into a more complex, more nuanced, and eminently more effective management paradigm. As Compstat grew and changed over time, so too did the issues and problems challenging the NYPD. As crime and public disorder offences declined to within more manageable limits, the agency had the luxury of turning its attention to a range of other management problems and issues. While reducing crime and disorder and increasing public safety have never lost their prominence or their importance on the NYPD’s set of post-1994 priorities, the relative ease with which Compstat has permitted the agency to fulfil its primary mission has concomitantly resulted in the capacity to identify and address a host of other new, emerging, or longstanding management issues. The Compstat management model has become a fairly complex yet eminently adaptable paradigm that can be...

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