Updated N.Y.P.D. Anti-Crime System to Ask: ‘How We Doing?’

It was a policing invention with a futuristic sounding name — CompStat — when the New York Police Department introduced it as a management system for fighting crime in an era of much higher violence in the 1990s. Police departments around the country, and the world, adapted its system of mapping muggings, robberies and other crimes; measuring police activity; and holding local commanders accountable.

Now, a quarter-century later, it is getting a broad reimagining and being brought into the mobile age. Moving away from simple stats and figures, CompStat is getting touchy-feely. It’s going to ask New Yorkers — via thousands of questions on their phones — “How are you feeling?” and “How are we, the police, doing?”

Whether this new approach will be mimicked elsewhere is still unknown, but as is the case with almost all new tactics in the N.Y.P.D. — the largest municipal police force in the United States by far — it will be closely watched. Nor is it clear if New Yorkers will embrace this approach, reject it as intrusive or simply be annoyed by it.

The system, using location technology, sends out short sets of questions to smartphones along three themes: Do you feel safe in your neighborhood? Do you trust the police? Are you confident in the New York Police Department?

The questions stream out every day, around the clock, on 50,000 different smartphone applications and present themselves on screens as eight-second surveys.

The department believes it will get a more diverse measure of community satisfaction, and allow it to further drive down crime. For now, Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill is calling the tool a “sentiment meter,” though he is open to suggestions for a better name….(More)”.