Trying Out CompStat 2.0, the NYPD’s Yelp for Crime

By
Image
Not for the faint of heart.

On Tuesday, the NYPD unveiled a new site where you can sift through and map every crime report in the city: It looks a little like Yelp, but for grand larceny. This is CompStat 2.0, successor to the software that is widely credited with the crime drop of the 1990s, and it is the next iteration of Bill Bratton’s flagship data program, which will also include a smartphone for every police officer.

Early in Bratton’s first run as police chief, in 1994, he and his late deputy Jack Maple introduced the original CompStat, which isolated and located clusters of low-level crimes and showed cops where to concentrate their efforts. The next year alone saw a 60 percent drop in crime. Although critics have said that officers in the CompStat era have underreported crimes in an effort to game the statistics, nearly everyone agrees that the program has been an enormously effective and relatively nontoxic tool.

CompStat 2.0 takes the data into sortable public view, serving as a weirdly fun way of poking around the city. Murder is down this year by more than 30 percent, robberies by 7 percent, burglaries by 8 percent, and shootings by 25 percent; felony assaults, by contrast, are up 15 percent, perhaps boosted by the anomalous slashing spree of the past month. After 20 minutes’ research, charting car thefts by the hour and murders by day of the week, I learned things about my neighborhood: Assaults go way up on the weekends, whereas thieves take it easy.