Technology will keep police accountable for crime

Police Chief George Gascón was extra clear Wednesday about wanting to hold the Police Department accountable for crime trends in The City.

Gascón told the 10 district station captains during the first of many regular CompStat meetings that they cannot be insincere with him about the crime trends.

CompStat is a new SFPD crime-fighting tool that uses mapping technology to expose where, when and how often crimes are happening in neighborhoods. The technology helps the Police Department predict future crimes and analyze what needs to be done to curb negative trends.

Wednesday’s meeting was scheduled to last four hours at the Cathedral Hill Hotel and feature 45-minute sessions examining five district stations. The public is welcome to attend. During the meetings, people will have the chance to see police captains face the fire, or receive praise, for crime trends in their areas.

Gascón ensured the captains Wednesday that the public meetings are not meant to punish them for failing to fight crimes, but to boost their ability to respond to trends. The idea is also to increase transparency.

He urged captains not to lie about crimes for fear of being reprimanded.

“The question is not whether it went up or down, but are you aware that it went up or down,” Gascón said.

The police chief said he helped in the successful rollout of the program in Los Angeles and Mesa, Ariz.

While CompStat can be useful, SFPD doesn’t currently have the proper equipment and technology yet to tap its full potential, Gascón said.

“We hope in the next few months we will continue to [increase] our technological capacity so that we can start having better interaction with the information that we currently had,” he said. “But this will be a good start.”

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