New Tech Helps Streamline Guess-Work at New Bedford Police Department
NEW BEDFORD - The New Bedford Police Department is showcasing how they spot crime trends and other statistics. Since September, the department has been using CompStat, a computer statistics system that compiles data from police reports, and shows police an interactive map of crimes, accidents, overdoses, and other incidents.
Chief Joseph Cordeiro says though it takes a lot of the manual work out of play, critical thinking is still a big part of the job. "We still need human beings on the street doing that work and thinking, analyzing," says Cordeiro. "The data shows up, we put it all up here, and it breeds a discussion and the human analyzing of all of those factors and then coming up with a strategy that's going to work and going to give us some success at the end."
The system works much like the old-fashioned method of placing push-pins into a wall-mounted map of the city, but provides much more information in a timely manner. Chief Cordeiro says CompStat has revealed interesting trends in its only six months of use, and has shown that crimes and quality of life issues share a direct correlation when displayed on the map. "They almost overlay one over the other. So what we are now looking to go to, in extending and advancing our CompStat management tool, is to look at quality of life issues and see how that's tying in with our crimes."
Commanders from each of the department's three stations meet with administration every two weeks to review the data, but it's not meant to be a performance review of the commanders, says Cordeiro. "They get up here and get an opportunity to explain what they're doing. And if they're not doing enough, then of course the Deputy (Chief) and I would be having that side discussion. But generally, the idea is to get everybody that's in the room involved and try to participate in giving ideas and resolutions so that we can come up with a good solution."
Cordeiro says the information helps police spot trends in crime, and often times allows them to take steps to prevent crime from happening.
The CompStat program was implemented several months after Cordeiro was sworn in as Chief of Police in May of 2016, and is part of his plan to continue to innovate and improve on police work methods.