Monday, May 7, 2012

From CompStat To CityStat To A Stat For Everything

There was an interesting piece at The New York Times Opinionator blog this week. The piece looked at how the concept of CompStat, using statistics to track effectiveness and holding people accountable for effectiveness has migrated from police departments to other city departments.

What is only starting to catch on, though, is the idea that CompStat isn’t just for policing. In Baltimore, which pioneered the application of CompStat to other government business, mayors for the last decade have used a CompStat-style system to run the whole city. CitiStat has greatly improved how the city does the meat-and-potatoes of government: picking up trash, filling potholes. But it goes much further. “We now Stat homelessness, we Stat domestic violence,” Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Baltimore’s mayor, said in an interview. “We’re finding more ways to use it — monitoring day-to-day progress, monitoring the pace at which we improve and push it along. We’re doing a citywide analysis of how to use CitiStat to drill down into problems that have been in existence for years.” Baltimore has been trying for years to put in a new computerized system for emergency dispatch of ambulances and firefighters. “We’re creating a Stat process — pull all the people into the same room with independent analysts and figure out how to get rid of roadblocks,” she said.

The entire piece is worth the read. I'd encourage you to take the time to read it. I think that the idea of applying Stat principles to other government operations is profoundly important. The citizens we serve deserve to know that their tax dollars are being used wisely and efficiently.

A hat tip to John Markovic over at the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services who posted a link to the story on the IACA mailing list.

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