March 31, 1999 By Raymond Dussault
When the ball went down in Times Square on New Year's Eve 1994, did all the 15-year-olds suddenly turn 50? Was there a mass exodus of juveniles overnight? They are uninformed.
I would be very happy to go into any city in the world with my partner, and any of the naysayers that have the guts can advise the chief of the department on half the city, with any of the commanders they want under them, and we will take the other half and advise them there. I'll put up $100,000 of my own personal money against theirs that our strategies will reduce crime dramatically more. We'll see where the crime goes down. The winner can donate the money to the widows and orphans fund. I'll go up against any takers.
Q:How much credit do you give the whole COMSTAT process?
A: Let's say crime is going down, on its own, by 2 or 3 percent. COMSTAT will make it go down 15 percent. Let's say crime is going up by 20 percent all over. COMSTAT will keep it to 2 or 3 percent. The more intel you have, the better deployed you are, and if you hold people accountable, crime will go down.
Q: You pretty much created COMSTAT.
A: Yes, that's correct. COMSTAT can be boiled down to four fundamental principles:
1.Accurate, timely intelligence clearly communicated to all.
2.A rapid deployment that is concentrated, synchronized and focused.
3. Effective tactics and strategies.
4. Relentless follow-up and assessment.
Now what does No. 1 mean in the police world? It means that you have to get the crimes every day, the day they happen, and you've got to map them. You've got to map them in every precinct, every district, every squad room. Then everybody has to know about it.
The narcotics people have to know about the murders, the detectives have to know where the crack houses are, everybody needs to know where the fences [who move stolen merchandise] are, where the chop shops are, where the quality-of-life problems are happening. Then you map everything.
You need to map the parolees. For instance, in New York there are 48,000 people on parole at any given time. About 4,500 of them have a warrant on them at any given time. You've got to map them. There are nonparolees with warrants on them. You have to map them.
Q: How does this change traditional policing?
A: One of the big problems in policing is, for example, you call up the police department and say there are two guys on the corner dealing drugs. They send a radio car. The guys see the radio car and what do they do? They step back into the doorway. The radio car keeps going. In police work, nobody memorializes that complaint. It drops right off the CAD screen. What should happen is that those complaints should go to narcotics in the local district or precinct to be worked on to see if it's a chronic condition.
That is why you hear people say that they keep calling and calling and calling, and the cops never do anything. It is because that simple complaint is never memorialized and the cops, from one day to the next, don't see that it is a chronic condition.
So you have to map everything, even the simple complaints. You map where the schools are, where the parks are, where the kids hold drag races, the prostitution places. Then you take those maps and lay them over each other; you do overlays.
Q: How does the mapping help?
A: The beauty of the mapping is that it poses the question, "Why?" What are the underlying causes of why there is a certain cluster of crime in a particular place. Is there a shopping
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