SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) - The Salt Lake City Police Department is working on cutting down on crime by stopping it before it happens. Believe it or not, that starts in a conference room.
They're called CompStat meetings. CompStat stands for computer statistics; information the police department uses to find out what's working and what's not working in the policing of the city.
"Often we say if you can't measure it, you can't manage it," explained Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown.
From the big things like robberies, stabbings, shootings and sex assaults, to the smaller crimes like damaged property, trespassing and disturbing the peace the Salt Lake City Police Department says it's important to know when, where and why the crimes happened so they can better prevent them from occuring in the same area again.
"A while ago we used to measure success of our police work on the number of arrests that we've made and how fast we got to the call, those are both reactive," said Chief Brown. "The whole purpose of CompStat is to prevent crime. And so we start looking at calls for service. If calls for service are going down then you're preventing crimes."
Chief Brown says they've seen a reduction in the calls for service since they employed CompStat in June of 2015. The meetings take place once every two weeks and focus on a different section of the city. They rotate between the east side of the city, the west side and the Rio Grande/Depot district.
"They take the targeted areas, within wherever it might be, and they deploy resources and other strategies and then we come back and talk about it. So this is just a way for us to be accountable to ourselves as to what we've done," said Brown.
The CompStat meetings are also a place for the department's top brass to come up with out of the box solutions to problems they're seeing in the city. Ideas like Operation Frostbite. Chief Brown said, "Last year we had a huge spike in stolen cars and we worked and worked and worked, and we couldn't really put a finger on it. So what we decided to do was just let's go out and knock on doors and say 'Hey your car's running. This is what causes cars to be stolen.' That had a huge impact on reducing stolen cars."
Overall crime in Salt Lake City is down. Chief Brown says compared to last year crime in 2016 is down 8.1%.
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