March 31, 1999 By Raymond Dussault
By looking at this, you can figure out where you need to be and when. You can figure out what time the pickpockets are working. You can look at stolen cars -- where they are being stolen from and where they are being recovered. If only the bones are being found, you know there is a chop shop nearby.
A map can give you all this. Then you can start looking at patterns and chronic conditions.
Q: Is this what you are doing in New Orleans?
A: Yes -- accurate and timely intelligence clearly communicated to all. New Orleans now has a Web site. They put a map out every week. They have all the crimes for the week, every district, on the map.
Q: And this is more than just the COMSTAT meetings; it is public access, right?
A: Public access. Accurate and timely intelligence communicated to all. They put homicides year-to-date, they put shootings year-to-date, they put stranger rapes year-to-date, solved versus unsolved crimes, and more.
Q: Back to your list. What's next?
A: The next thing is rapid deployment that is concentrated, focused and synchronized. So now you want to look at your intel and deploy your forces accordingly. Where are we going to put the patrolmen? Are they best on foot, on bicycle or in a patrol car? Where are we going to put the detectives?
The third thing is tactics and strategies. Are we going to do buy-and-busts? Are we going to do warrant enforcement? Are there a bunch of wanted warrants with addresses in a certain area where there have been a series of crimes? Are we going to do a decoy operation because there is a particular pattern where the thieves are hitting Hasidic Jewish people on their way home?
Q: Is that enough?
A: No. The final step is relentless follow-up and assessment. That process means that, when you do make an arrest, you have to be committed to the strategy of having the detectives debrief every offender you arrest.
Since the detectives now have the maps in their room because of accurate timely intelligence, they are not only going to try and solve this particular crime, but we are going to see if they can be linked to other crimes we have mapped.
Q: So the intelligence is the key to everything?
A: Yes, and no city is completely there yet. In addition to maps, you should have all stolen property in a computer database. If the cop just arrested Jack Maple for [urinating] in the street and he sees I am wearing a Rolex watch, he should be able to put that serial number in the computer and find out if it's stolen. In most cities in the nation, you can't do that. For instance, in Philadelphia, pawn shop records are collected by hand and thrown in a box. What good does that do you? We've got computers, now we have to use them.
You should be able to use computers to correlate the person you are talking to with other kinds of data. For instance: A detective is interviewing Jack Maple. You should be able to put Maple's name in a computer and find out how many times he has been a witness, how many times was he a complainant, was he ever in a car accident, has he ever been a perpetrator. Wouldn't it be something if you punched in the name and found out
You may use or reference this story with attribution and a link to