Nampa police to implement sophisticated crime-fighting data tool

Officers hope Compstat will lead to more arrests.
Posted at 9:06 PM, Jun 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-07 01:28:41-04

NAMPA, Idaho — Police in Nampa are hoping a new computerized statistics tool will help them put more criminals behind bars-- and make Nampa a safer place to live. The tool is called Compstat, and Nampa police say they will be the first department in southern Idaho to fully utilize the system in their operations.

Imagine: walking into a grocery store, but when you get inside, there are no signs above the aisles to show you where things are. Unless you got lucky, you would probably waste a lot of time searching, hoping to find what you need. That's how Nampa officers describe policing-- before Compstat.

"We had data but we didn't have anybody that could pull that data out and give it to us in a meaningful manner," said Sgt. Oren McGuire, Nampa Police Department. "You're actually targeting the real problem areas instead of just doing 'shotgun approach.'"

The computerized crime data tracking tool was developed by NYPD in the 1990s.

"New York saw a 60 percent reduction in crime," said Kenneth Keene, Crime Analyst for Nampa Polic Department, with 15 years experience working with Compstat at LAPD.

Now, Nampa Police Department has two in-house crime analysts, including one who is fluent in the system.

"You can take the data and it'll tell you what crimes are happening: where, when, what hour of the day, what day of the week," said Keene.

Police said they expect to see a spike in arrests.

"The citizens will see the difference-- because now if they're gonna be calling in specific complaints, and we're starting to see a pattern there-- our analysts will pull it out, well then, we'll focus as a department. Not just as one or two people on that complaint; the whole department focuses on it," said Chief Joe Huff, Nampa Police Department.

The department is currently experiencing transition on many levels. In interviews to be the department's next Lieutenant, four separate sergeants made presentations for a problem they intend to use Compstat to help solve-- ranging from car thefts and burglary, to traffic and crashes, to downtown revitalization.

"Those are all things that we can make an impact with," said Patrol Sgt. Donald Peck, Nampa Police Department.

Ultimately, department heads chose McGuire to be the next Lieutenant. He's confident that by utilizing Compstat correctly, he can lead the department to use their time and resources more wisely.

"So you might have a little bit of growing pains at first, but the hope is, that the overall, it's gonna be a huge crime reduction," said McGuire.

Ideally, officers hope Compstat will make it so that-- just like shopping for groceries with help from aisle signs-- they'll be able to find exactly what they need to make Nampa a safer place to live.

Officers have spent six months educating themselves on how to use Compstat-- some even taking trips to Salt Lake City and Coeur D'Alene to see how their agencies benefit from it. The system will be officially implemented at Nampa Police Department on Sunday.