As Rafael Goyeneche, president of the New Orleans Metropolitan Crime Commission, told me in November, Pennington was besotted with COMSTAT, a crime data mapping system that he later brought to Atlanta. Basically, it’s a numbers tracker. By focusing on the numbers of crime, rather than crime itself, Pennington set a tone in the NOPD that encouraged district majors (what we call zone majors in Atlanta) to compete with each other for low crime stats. The result was cops underreporting crime. Unwittingly or not, employees in any institution tend to pick up on what matters to their boss, and they act accordingly.I certainly think Ramage has a point about underreporting, but I don't think it may be as
In b-school, one phrase that has come up a few times is "you get what you measure." When you make someone's performance evaluation dependent on a measurement, that measurement will likely improve. What WON'T improve is anything else. You are, in essence, telling them that all you care about is the measurement. If a low reporting of crime numbers is what you want, that is what you will get - never mind if it impacts customer satisfaction, or if response times stay high, or other aspects of the job that officers aren't spending their time on. You will get what you measure, and that is all.
This is why I've been calling for more than "more cops," but an organizational overhaul of the Police Department and an audit of their management practices. Are the police using a holistic scorecard, or is there too much focusing on the reported crime numbers? I think you can still use metrics to asses performance, but lets use more than just the number of reported crimes.
My first thought at some metrics I'd love to see published every month or at least quarter, in simple CSV files so that anyone with excel can do their own analysis if they want to:
- Reported crimes, by type, zone, beat, etc.
- Crimes solved, and whether that person was convicted (do they even keep track of this?)
- Number of calls responded to, location, and how many were reported as crimes (this would help measure Ramage's accusation)
- Response times, by zone, beat, etc.
- Call center wait times, blackout times
- Some sort of customer satisfaction measure - something like a quarterly poll of city residents, or some other regular