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Predictive Policing

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    Introduction
    Predictive policing refers to any policing strategy or tactic that develops and uses and advanced analysis to inform forward-thinking crime prevention. predictive policing is done through software called PredPol. It takes crime data, runs it through an algorithm, and then generates these maps. The maps tell police where crimes might happen –- before they take place. Police can spend extra time in the areas at risk for crime, the thinking goes, and prevent those crimes from ever occurring. This paper will Compare and contrast the application of information technology (IT) to optimize police departments’ performance to reduce crime versus random patrols of the streets.

    Describe how COMPSTAT, as an information system (IS), implements the four (4) basic IS functions: Input, Processing. Output, and Feedback. Also, it will determine how information systems have allowed police departments that implement tools such as COMPSTAT to respond to crime faster. Lastly it will apply the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats analysis (SWOT analysis) on behalf of police departments that intend to predictive policing.

    1. Compare and contrast the application of information technology (IT) to optimize police departments’ performance to reduce crime versus random patrols of the streets. Police use information technology tools at almost every stage, including allocation of sources, patrolling, crime prevention, crime tracking, hot pursuits, and crime solving. Information technology has substantial impact on police practices. In addition, any increased acceptance of information technology by police officers improves the quality of policing and performance of law enforcement agencies.

    Using information technology to fight crime by the police officers is becoming increasingly effective in apprehending the crime perpetrators. Predictive policing, or programs such as COMPSTAT, is taking data from disparate sources, analyzing them and then using the results to anticipate, prevent and respond more effectively to future crime. “The predictive vision moves law enforcement from focusing on what will happen and how to effectively deploy resources in front of the crime, thereby changing outcomes,” writes Charlie Beck, chief of the Los Angeles Police Department .

    Community policing is the practice that emphasizes foot patrols that allow officers to develop on their beats and thereby lets the community help set law enforcement priorities. Both practices show police presence and patrolling in the communities, however, programs like COMPSTAT that use statistical data only gives part of the picture. Even though the application of IT in policing can help to reduce crime in targeted areas based on the data provided, any data- driven approach to a problem results in the lack of understanding of an issue as a whole.

    Community policing offers the officers the opportunity to understand the “why” of crime rather than the simple “what, where and how often” that the COMPSTAT data offers. It requires change from traditional to strong strategically set methods combined with better intelligence. This initially led to the innovation of predictive policing in 1994 by NYPD. This paved way for evolution of COMPSTAT (Computer Statistics) which used all crime related data as its input to anticipate a crime.

    2. Describe how COMPSTAT, as an information system (IS), implements the four (4) basic

    IS functions: 1. Input, 2. Processing, 3. Output, and 4. Feedback. CompStat, short for “Computer Comparison Statistics,” is a multifaceted system for managing police operations. Used in many different law enforcement agencies across the United States and around the world, it is an innovative business management process, system, and strategic methodology that assists an organization in achieving its mission and goals. The methods are transferable, compatible, and replicable in any organization or environment. In a police organization, CompStat functions as a crime control process manifested in recurring meetings, usually weekly, during which the agency’s performance indicators are reviewed critically for opportunities for improvement. This organizational management philosophy, concept and tool combines a classic problem-solving model with accountability at all levels of organization.

    At the core of the process is an examination and review of an organization’s status as revealed by quantifiable statistical indicators. In a police environment, this means analyzing numbers and locations of crimes and arrests as well as suspects, victims, days and times of criminal activity, and so forth, to identify crime patterns, clusters, suspects, and hot spots. Strategies are then formulated to counter increasing incidences of crime. The CompStat process encourages creativity in creating strategies, allocating resources, and deploying police personnel while holding managers and employees accountable for confronting the problems of crime proactively.

    The CompStat process can be described as a two-pronged examination of police operations. first prong looks outwardly at crime and its effects in the community, while the second examines the organization internally to identify best practices in managing such police personnel and risk management issues as sick time, use of force, pursuits, complaints, and accompanying municipal liability. The examination of crime and internal police department processes allows for the reengineering of those processes in response to crime, an action that can produce significant public safety gains not only in terms of reducing crime but also in increasing effectiveness in various other essential police performance measures.

     3. Determine how information systems have allowed police departments that implement tools such as COMPSTAT to respond to crime faster. The core elements of this method have allowed officers to proactively target emerging crime trends rather than just reacting to them. Police managers are given the authority to deploy their resources to get the desired results, and are held accountable for those results. Intelligence, or information on criminal activity, is essential to respond to any problem or crisis. As the police improve their methods of collecting information about criminal activity, it becomes more and more important to distill and refine that volume of data into information that can be used at all levels of the Police Department.

    Computer software such as geographic information systems (GIS) and advanced analytical techniques are used to condense and summarize current crime information to produce intelligence that is accurate and timely, greatly assisting in targeting crime in the early stages. This information allows for police resources to be directed to the exact problem as quickly as possible. Rather than simply responding to calls and situations as single isolated incidents, COMPSTAT encourages a broader approach. External factors such as the social or environmental contributors to crime are considered when responding to problems. COMPSTAT tactics encourage that all available resources, both external and internal, be used to respond quickly and systematically to each and every call for service. Traditionally, policing has been done in a very reactive manner, where departments struggle to have police officers respond as quickly as possible to calls for service. Limited resources and patrol coverage areas can mean that response times can vary significantly. COMPSTAT allows police managers to strategically place resources based on recent activity and crime trends.

    This intelligence means that calls for service can be dealt with quicker and more effectively, by officers who are better informed on current activities. The COMPSTAT model includes the requirement to constantly evaluate the success of the police in reducing crime. Crime maps and statistics can be used each and every week to measure the effectiveness of the tactics and strategies being employed. Just as a private business would look at its revenue to indicate whether it was doing well, the police examine the change in crime to measure the success of past tactics. Operations that are not providing successful results can be assessed to determine if there is value in continuing them. 4. Apply the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats analysis (SWOT analysis) on

    behalf of police departments that intend to implement predictive policing. SWOT analysis is a classic strategic planning tool. Using a framework of internal strengths and weaknesses and external opportunities and threats, it provides a simple way to assess how a strategy can best be implemented. The tool helps planners be realistic about what they can achieve, and where they should focus.

    S.W.O.T. Analysis Summary

    Strengths * Weaknesses * Opportunities * Threats

    Current Strengths of Implementing Predictive Policing

     The experience and stability of our work force

     Community support

     Accountability of officers to citizens and staff

    Commitment to our Department Goals and Values

    Communication inside the agency

    Current Weaknesses of Implementing Predictive Policing

    Current facilities reduce efficiency

     Lack of training facilities

     Limited number of staff with foreign language skills

     High property crime rate

    Opportunities for the Implementing Predictive Policing

    Development of an internal leadership and management program aimed at developing current

    and future leaders.

     New leadership

     Community outreach programs will provide community outreach and build new relationships

     Full implementation of a fitness plan

     Increased partnerships with other town departments and the community

    Known and Anticipated Threats to Implementing Predictive Policing

     Increased reliance on technology

     Population aging / decline

     Continued slow economic recovery / increasing budget costs

    Need for additional civilian support staff

    .

    References

    Joe, G. D. (2009, 08 08). The CompStat Process: Four Principles for Managing Crime Reduction. Retrieved from The Police Chief:
    http://www.policechiefmagazine.org/magazine/index.cfm?fuseaction=display&article_id=18 59&issue_id=82009 Pearsall, B. (2010, 06). Predictive Policing: The Future of Law Enforcement? Retrieved from Institute of Justice: http://www.nij.gov/journals/266/predictive.htm What is COMPSTAT? (n.d.). Retrieved from West Vancouver Police Department: http://wvpd.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=21

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