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Manhattan D.A.'s Office Forms Crime Strategies Unit

By Kamika Dunlap on June 01, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The Manhattan District Attorney's office has created a new Crime Strategies Unit that will rely on a new computer database to spot crime trends.

The new computerized crime-tracking system is designed to help prosecutors unearth crimes, spot broader crime trends and make better decisions when handling defendants, the New York Times reports.

The DA's Crime Strategies Unit also will use the database to synchronize and share information with police.

It database was created to more closely align prosecution strategies and modern technology, officials said.

The database has been compared to the CompStat system used by law enforcement to detect, analyze and spot crime trends.

The era of data-driven law enforcement began in the early 1990s in New York City. It was there that police chief William Bratton sought to impress newly elected mayor Rudolph Giuliani with a radical approach to policing that came to be known as CompStat.

Law enforcement officials often refer to the need for "actionable information." Typically, that means police and other agencies look to link geographical information systems including electronic crime mapping, or hot-spot analysis.

CompStat put an emphasis on leveraging accurate and detailed data with police man-power.

The Crime Unit's new system will assign five prosecutors to be divided among the borough to work with community affairs workers, analysts and investigators to better collect information.

Cyrus R. Vance Jr., the Manhattan district attorney, said currently, an assistant district attorney handles a new case from arraignment through disposition, without necessarily communicating the facts to other prosecutors.

The new computer database system however, is designed to better connect the dots in a way that it can be used most effectively, he said.


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