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Crain's Detroit highlights CompStat initiative, WSU Police Department

January 28, 2013

Community stakeholders and small and big businesses are fighting crime in some innovative ways -- especially in Midtown and parts of downtown -- with data-driven approaches to crime investigations and preventative measures. One tactic is having detailed -- and frequent -- crime analysis, down to the city block level. Every two weeks, a group of about 25 law enforcement officials, ranging from undercover detectives from the Wayne State University Police Department to state troopers, the Wayne County Sheriff's Office, urban planners and the heads of security for leading Midtown employers, gather for a detailed meeting - called CompStat. The group reviews every reported crime that took place at Wayne State and in Midtown over the previous two weeks. Anthony Holt, chief of police for the WSU Police Department, said he began the meetings four years ago as a way to rein in crime at Wayne State. "We look at every single crime that happened in Midtown and downtown and look for patterns and devise a plan off of that pattern," Holt said. "Two weeks later, we revisit it and look at the stats. And we had better show a decrease." David Martin, research director for the Urban Safety Program and Center for Urban Studies at WSU, said a similar meeting to the Midtown program takes place monthly to drill down on crime stats in Detroit's Central Business District. And he said there are plans to roll out the program more frequently in downtown and more widely across the city. Lyke Thompson, director of the Center for Urban Studies at Wayne State University, said companies like Quicken Loans/Rock Ventures and the Ilitch family of companies are also expanding their security presence in the city and sharing that information with the Detroit Police Department. Response times for WSU's police unit hovers around 90 seconds. Overall, crime has dropped by 45 percent in Midtown and Wayne State since CompStat began. "If you divide the 60 police officers (that) Wayne State has by the four square miles they patrol, we have about 13 officers per square mile," Holt said.