Compstat gives SFPD insight into crimes

December 16, 2009 6:35:13 PM PST
San Francisco's new crime fighting weapon launched by its new police chief seems to be making a difference. After just two months in operation, police credit Compstat for helping catch a Muni stabbing suspect.

After a series of stabbings on Muni lines around the Mission District, including an attack on an 11-year-old boy, Compstat went to work.

Chief George Gascon brought the police department's newly created computer crime tracking system to the department in October.

Compstat was able to give officers an analysis of the stabbings, the Muni lines, time and locations where they occurred.

Police were told to be vigilant in those areas.

On Nov. 30, Rachel Brown was stabbed on the J-Church line.

Soon after, police arrested Bobby Brown, a transient. He is now been charged with five stabbings.

"What Compstat is dong really enabled Mission Station to coordinate with Taraval and Taraval apprehended that stabber as he was waiting aboard a train," San Francisco Supervisor Bevan Dufty said.

Smart policing is exactly what Compstat is designed to do. It enables police to use resources efficiently to solve crimes quickly.

Police officials and captains from all ten district stations attend bi-monthly meetings where they share information from Compstat.

Commander Jeff Godown coordinates the system. He says it is working.

"The thought process is changing; they're starting to develop other techniques and ideas on how they're going to solve their problems," Godown said.

At Wednesday's meeting the hot topic was how best to reduce property crimes. Compstat has discovered they make up 90 percent of all crimes in San Francisco.

Getting compstat to this high level is a remarkable achievement in itself. Godown says the police department's computer system is so archaic; much of the counting of crime data is done by hand. The problem is getting money to upgrade the system.


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