CompStat's Driving Force

CompStat's Driving Force

by / October 28, 2003
CompStat may have happened without Bill Bratton; but for my money, if one person deserves accolades for pushing the initiative largely credited with lowering New York City's crime rate, it's him.

Bratton's track record for success is impeccable.

In 1983, he began a stint as chief of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Police Department. After three years, the department saw a 37 percent reduction in violent crimes.

From 1990 through 1991, Bratton served as chief and senior vice president for the New York City Transit Authority Police Department, where he gave each officer a 9mm firearm, and more importantly, respect. During that time, crime on the subway fell 50 percent.

In 1994, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani appointed Bratton New York City police commissioner, where he instituted CompStat, and presided over a 50 percent reduction in murders and a 39 percent decline in serious crimes.

When you ask Bratton who was directly responsible for instituting CompStat, he'll say it was the work of a group of people, including Deputy Jack Maple and Chief of Patrol Louie Anemone, who ran CompStat for six years in New York and has joined Bratton in bringing CompStat to Los Angeles.

He doesn't mention Giuliani, who is more than willing to accept credit for instituting CompStat, although it has been said that the mayor attended no more than a few CompStat meetings.

What Giuliani provided, if not interest in the details, was the political backbone to both implement CompStat and make law enforcement accountable for not only solving crime, but preventing it as well. The mayor was deft enough to hire Bratton, and for the most part, let him run with CompStat.

In the end, however, the city may not have been large enough for both personalities -- Bratton was gone after 27 months.

But CompStat is now entrenched, largely because of Bratton's insatiable appetite for success, and because Giuliani was smart enough to ride that horse.

However contentious the partnership may have been, the combination of Bratton and Giuliani -- the energy behind CompStat and the political force, respectively -- translated into success.

That same political will is on display in Baltimore, where Mayor Martin O'Malley has relentlessly pushed a CompStat model in his efforts to rebuild the city.

In Los Angeles, Mayor James Hahn is intent on taming violent street gangs, and Bratton has been brought in as police chief to try to do it.

Bratton has begun to refocus the department the CompStat way. The LAPD will buy into it -- it'll have no choice because of the way Bratton will drive it.

That's the way CompStat succeeds.
Jim McKay, Justice and Public Safety Editor Justice and Public Safety Editor