New York City’s Police Department is creating a “real time crime center” to provide immediate data on crime trends, says Michael Farrell, the department’s deputy commissioner for strategic initiatives. “This will take us beyond CompStat,” Farrell said, alluding to the city’s system of holding district police commanders accountable in weekly internal meetings for crime trends in their areas. Farrell spoke yesterday in Washington, D.C., at the U.S. Justice Department’s annual conference on criminal justice research and evaluation.
Farrell spoke also about New York’s Operation Impact, a program started in January 2003 to concentrate on crime “hot spots.” Crime dropped 33 percent in two dozen zones included in the program. When a new set of zones was added this year, Farrell said, crime dropped 27 percent in those areas. He said that “some communities felt shortchanged” when officers were concentrated in some aras, but overall the “reliance on intelligence and analysis paid off.” With a federal grant, New York City now is building a data system based on the Battelle company’s Starlight Information Visualization System, which is designed to identify trends and relationships among large volumes of data.