This week I was invited to witness how the Sacramento Police Department spd_logo(SPD) has institutionalized data-driven, performance-based policing strategies by attending one of the SPD’s regular CompStat meetings on Wednesday, August 20, 2014.

With many local governments around California having to limit their budgets and cut costs, the SPD has demonstrated that synthesizing data and encouraging law enforcement managers to deliberate results can help a department lower crime rates, and also respond to crime more efficiently and effectively.

During Sacramento’s CompStat meetings, command staff review a number of data sets that inform their future policing strategies, including:

  • The number of crimes reported in each district (by type)
  • GIS mapping that identifies crime hot spots within each district (by time of day and by day of week)
  • The percent change in the number of crimes reported in each district (by type)
  • What crimes are statistically likely to occur in certain areas
  • The number of crimes reported per capita (by type) as compared to other big cities in California
  • And much more!

The SPD crime analysis team follows up these CompStat meetings with more fully developed District reports tailored to each geographic area of the City and directly inform how law enforcement is deployed throughout the City.

In short, at the Sacramento Police Department, CompStat has become more than a statistical tool that enables data collection and analysis, it has become a management philosophy that builds from the notion that government can improve its performance by evaluating its results.