PERF’s new report, “Compstat: Its Origins, Evolution, and Future in Law Enforcement Agencies,” traces how Compstat came into being, how it changed as it spread to hundreds of police agencies across the country, and where it’s headed for the future.
Begun 20 years ago in New York City, Compstat has become a part of the institutional DNA of policing. With support from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, PERF launched a project to assess how this happened. We conducted a survey of law enforcement agencies about their Compstat systems, and we held a national conference in which police executives and other experts described their experiences with Compstat. Then PERF conducted site visits in law enforcement agencies across the country, observing Compstat meetings and interviewing local officials.
We found that law enforcement agencies have taken Compstat in different directions and to new levels of performance since it was first developed. Few policing innovations have been more transformative than Compstat. Compstat changed how police view crime problems. Instead of merely responding to crimes after they are committed, police expanded their mission to focus on preventing the next crime. Compstat helps to achieve that mission.