Comstat-or COMPSTAT-(short for COMPuter STATistics) is a combination of management, philosophy, and organizational management tools for police departments. It is named after the New York City Police Department’s accountability process and has since been implemented by many other police departments, both in the United States and abroad.
Compstat offers a dynamic approach to crime reduction, quality of life improvement, and personnel and resource management, whereby ranking police department executives identify spikes in crimes using comparative statistics and address those spikes through the use of targeted enforcement. To this end, Compstat includes four generally recognized components: timely and accurate information or intelligence, rapid deployment of resources, effective tactics, and relentless follow-up. However, Compstat can be expanded and tweaked depending on specific department needs. Originally, it was modeled after the broken windows theory, whereby minor crimes would be addressed in order to reduce major crimes. However, over time, its use evolved into a system whereby productivity was measured and individuals were held accountable for spikes in crime. Commercial entities began producing turnkey packages (including computer systems, software, mobile devices, and other implements) assembled under the heading of CompStat. For example, Geographic Information Systems allow departments to map crime or other types of data, to aid in identifying and solving problems in their assigned area.