Friday, April 20, 2012

It's a process...

About 6 years ago, the Greenville Police Department began using the Compstat policing model as a crime fighting and management tool.  Here is some basic information about that process:
The term “Compstat” is derived from the words, “Computer” and “Statistics” and denotes the importance of management decisions based on relevant and accurate crime data, usually generated by computerized crime analysis. 
Using real-time crime analysis, Area Commanders at GPD report to the Chief’s Staff on a periodic basis and summarize the crime activity in their assigned area for a given time frame.  More importantly, the Commanders then address what they plan to do in the upcoming time frame to predict, prevent, suppress, or solve the crime problems they have identified. 
Area Commanders may use a variety of resources to address the problems they’ve identified, including code enforcement units and other civil agencies, investigative resources such as detective units, uniformed resources such as special operations patrol units, and assigned shift patrol officers.  They also seek to involve the community members in the problem solving efforts, in order to leverage resources which would not normally be available to the police. 
The Compstat Policing model identifies four (4) key elements which are necessary if Compstat is to be a successful strategy:
1)     Accurate and Timely Intelligence Information
2)    Effective Tactics
3)    A Rapid Deployment of Personnel and Resources
4)    Relentless Follow-Up and Assessment
  Without accurate and timely intelligence information, Compstat Policing simply would not be effective, and resources such as personnel would be wasted by misuse and misapplication.
Timeliness is everything in respect to follow up:  Information can go stale very quickly and Compstat Policing requires the application of valuable resources addressing a problem in a timely manner, therefore “real-time” intelligence has become one of the most valuable commodities in the police department. 
Once a police Commander receives accurate and timely information, he must deploy resources and employ effective tactics to address the problem.  For instance the Commander may augment a directed patrol order with meetings involving stakeholders (property owners, business managers, community watch groups, etc.) to address a situation, or they might seek input from code enforcement and other city-directed departments (public works, inspections, etc.).  Depending upon the nature of the crime problem, a manager may implement something like an undercover buy/bust operation with the department Drug Unit, develop and use a traffic safety plan with the department Traffic Safety Unit, or develop and implement some other strategy. 
By having managers (area commanders, etc) with the authority to commit resources as they see fit, the delay of problem solving approaches is minimized.  The deployment of personnel may involve changing or adjusting work schedules on short notice.  In many instances, paying overtime to officers in order to maximize resources is part of the manager’s authority. 
Probably the most difficult part of the Compstat Policing process is the final element: Relentless Follow-Up and Assessment.   It allows commanders to manage personnel effectively by making adjustments as needed.  Assessment of the solution will discern whether or not a plan is meeting its intended goals.   

Comstat Policing in Greenville includes elements of Community Oriented Policing best practices, and the Greenville Police Department is working now to adapt to a more intelligence-led, predictive policing methodology, intended to maximize the effective use of our personnel and other resources.  
Opening the 2011 Caldwell Court Substation

Reported UCR part 1 crimes have declined 16% since 2010.  And there has been an overall 5-year reduction of 23% in the crime rate in Greenville.

There is little doubt that the Compstat policing practices adopted by the GPD have helped in this reduction.  Officers and staff will continue to try and keep the trend downward, and look forward to partnering with members of our community toward that goal.

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