How COMPSTAT Helped Enforce Criminal Laws in Los Angeles

The LAPD credits some of the decrease in violent crime trends to the institution and tailoring of the COMPSTAT crime control model. COMPSTAT, short for computer statistics, hopes to implement proactive methods of fighting crime.

Part of the reason it is so effective is that it holds police managers accountable for their assigned area and gives them the authority to use their resources effectively. The core elements of COMSTAT are:

  • Accurate and timely intelligence. The police need to create and utilize an effective method of sharing information between the levels of the organization. This includes details about recent crime patterns and trends. Implementation of accurate intelligence exchange allows the police force to use limited resources more effectively.
  • Effective tactics. The police must treat every case as a big case and apply thorough, rapid investigation systematically. COMPSTAT also encourages officers to handle social and environmental influences that may create or add to a problem.
  • Rapid deployment. The police can monitor criminal trends and patterns as they emerge using regularly updated COMPSTAT data. Officers can use this information to act proactively with decoys, plainclothes, and uniformed police activity. Without COMPSTAT, the LAPD would usually only deploy officers when they received reports of criminal activity.
  • Relentless follow-up and assessment. Possibly taking a tip from successful business practices, COMPSTAT focuses everything on getting results. The COMPSTAT Unit scrutinizes administrative, operational, and investigative police activity to find what is producing positive results and what is not. The Unit also reviews past tactics to prevent the LAPD from using those that have not been successful.

Sentencing Guidelines in Los Angeles
Judges pass sentences on defendants in almost every state and federal criminal case. They base the sentences on the laws and constitution of their state and the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution that prohibits excessive punishments.

The laws and constitution in California outline what activities are criminal offenses and acceptable penalties for such actions. In most cases, the statute provides a range of possible punishments. If the judge believes the actions of the defendant deserve it, he or she can pass a more serious sentence.

The following parties can request the judge apply the minimum or maximum sentence available:

  • State attorneys
  • Family of the victim
  • Defendants

However, some states and all federal criminal laws include mandatory sentences for criminal convictions. This requires the judge sentence every person convicted of that crime the same. Most crimes in California do not carry mandatory penalties, and the defendant's Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer can speak on behalf of his or her client before the judge passes sentence to try to reduce the penalties they face.