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Preventive Policing Compstat and Beyond


Rakesh Arya IPS

Police have the stupendous task of enforcing the Law of the land while respecting individual freedom and Civil Liberties. Initially, policing was primarily Preventive- cops patrolling/walking the streets/beats deterring crime by their presence (the 1830s). With the increase in crimes and social disturbances/turbulence, policing entered the phase of Reactive Policing (responding to calls/crime situations in mid-1900s). The introduction of helpline numbers/calling systems reinforced the trend of preventive policing. But the new system also had its own problems in terms of a surge in number of calls, decreasing number of police force and insufficient resources available to the enforcement agencies. To deal with all these challenges police agencies, particularly in bigger cities required much smarter ways/techniques of not only solving crimes but effectively preventing it, maybe by predicting it with the adoption of the latest information technology tools/techniques. The adoption of CompStat by NYPD in the 1990s was one such technological disruption that led to a remarkable reduction in crimes over the next two decades. It became a very successful experiment (not without criticisms, of course) to be adopted by other major police departments in the USA and beyond. Recently, other tools/techniques like predictive policing and big data analysis are also being used for the prevention of crime by the major police agencies all across the globe.

Introduction

A number of technological innovations and their adoption in Policing have taken place since Robert Peel’s preventive policing of the 1830s in the UK. There has since been a debate about the adoption of various technologies in Policing work (crime prevention and detection) and its effectiveness all across the world. Initially, policing was primarily Preventive- cops patrolling/walking the streets/beats deterring crime by their presence. They got to know their neighbours and their neighbourhoods. With the increase in Crimes and Social disturbances/turbulence, the policing entered the phase of Reactive Policing (mid 1900’s). Instead of a benign presence, designed to prevent crimes, the cops started spending more and more time in their patrol cars, responding to calls. They were also able to covermore area with enhanced frequency in their beats. The introduction of helpline numbers/calling systems reinforced the trend of preventive policing and cops got a ‘new toolbox of crime solving technique’ (Black, 2016).

Read More...

Black David (2016, Feb 26). Predictive policing is here now, but at what cost. Retrieved from URL: https://www.dallasnews.com › Opinion › Commentary.

Byrne, James, and Marx, Gary (2011-3). Technological Innovations in Crime Prevention and Policing: A Review of the Research on implementation and Impact. CPS, nr. 20; p. 17-40. Retrieved from URL: www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/238011.pdf.

CompStat: its origins, evolution, and future in law enforcement agencies. Bureau of Justice Assistance, Police Executive Research Forum, Bureau of Justice Assistance. Retrieved from URL: www.scribd.com/document/260516128/Compstat-Its.