Crime Didn’t Drop In New York City Because of CompStat

What is the deal with New Yorkers? Here is Chris Smith on CompStat, the computerized crime-tracking system first used in New York:

No New York invention, arguably, has saved more lives in the past 24 years. CompStat has helped drive down the city’s crime rates to historic lows….There is also considerable debate on just how much credit CompStat, and the NYPD in general, deserves for the crime decline. Cities including Houston and Phoenix saw similar declines and attributed them mostly to economic development and community policing. “Two decades of an expanding economy, and mass incarceration, have contributed the most to the crime drop,” says Rick Rosenfeld, a professor of criminology at the University of Missouri, St. Louis. “Smarter policing, informed by digitized crime data, has contributed in a number of places, including New York City. But we don’t know how much.”

Crime began dropping in New York years before CompStat was up and running. Crime dropped in Los Angeles and Toronto and Stockholm at the same time, even though they didn’t have CompStat. And crime dropped everywhere in New York City, regardless of how strongly various areas were targeted by CompStat.

How can we still be arguing about this? I don’t doubt that CompStat is a good management tool, and it might be effective at keeping crime rates low after they’ve already dropped. However, there’s simply no reason to think it had a significant effect on the huge drop in crime in New York City during the 90s and aughts. The evidence just doesn’t fit. Knock it off, folks.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

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Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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