skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 219214 Find in a Library
Title: Compstat in Practice: An In-Depth Analysis of Three Cities
Author(s): James J. Willis; Stephen D. Mastrofski; David Weisburd
Corporate Author: Police Foundation
United States of America
Date Published: 2003
Page Count: 99
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
Washington, DC 20531
Police Foundation
Washington, DC 20036
Grant Number: 98-IJ-CX-007
Publication Number: ISBN 1-884614-20-5
Sale Source: Police Foundation
1201 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States of America
Type: Program/Project Evaluation
Format: Document (Online)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This federally supported study provides an in-depth assessment of how Compstat (a new crime control program, combining all the major prescriptions with the latest geographic information systems technology) worked in three individual police departments in Massachusetts, Minnesota, and New Jersey.
Abstract: Compstat has been hailed as a way to make profound transformations in the way that police departments operate. Many consider New York City’s pioneering Compstat program to have introduced a revolution in American policing. This research at three sites that followed in New York’s footsteps suggest that what has taken place thus far is not a transformation so much as a graft of some elements of progressive management onto fundamentally unaltered organizational structures. The police departments observed struggled with the mandate to create a more nimble organization that could move resources about strategically. Even though Compstat markedly energized middle managers to do something about crime, the pattern that evolved mimicked the reactive forms of policing about which advocates of strategic problem solving have complained. Also, Compstat failed to alter the low tolerance for risk that pervades the culture of police agencies and leads to parochial decisionmaking. Even though these sites have transplanted some new ways of doing business, they have done so without making much change to some very fundamental structures of police organizations. However, on a positive note for Compstat, the police have taken a lead role among justice agencies in embracing and using social science to decide what problems need solving and how to do it. At the turn of the 21st century, a new engine in police crime-control progressivism arose. Compstat combines all of the major prescriptions offered by contemporary organizational development experts with the latest geographic information systems technology. It reengineers police management and uses sophisticated computer maps and crime statistics to facilitate timely and targeted responses to crime problems. Tables, appendix and references
Main Term(s): Geographic information systems (GIS)
Index Term(s): Computer mapping; Future of policing; Geographic distribution of crime; NIJ grant-related documents; Policing innovation; Program evaluation; Science and Technology; Technical evolution
Note: *This document is currently unavailable from NCJRS. Downloaded on July 23, 2007.
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.