New Orleans Police Chief Ronal Serpas traditionally has been a big proponent of the weekly COMSTAT crime report briefings, but in an interview on June 6 he said he's considering canceling the Friday morning COMSTAT meetings for a month. The reason: a new crime-fighting program by the Omega Group called CrimeView, which Serpas says concentrates on "problem places, not problem people."
A great feature built into CrimeView, according to the chief, is the ability to filter out crimes that are a result of random encounters — i.e., two guys with a beef who run into one another on the street unexpectedly. Instead, CrimeView can concentrate on specific areas where criminal activity is persistent or endemic. "Now we can see it, first time ever," Serpas told Gambit. "We've never had this technology here before, and it will make us smarter."
Regarding COMSTAT, Serpas said, "I'm on the verge of canceling it here for about a month because we've got to reboot people's thinking. It's just they're stuck in 1997, '98, '99. And we've got to change that."
Serpas introduced the CrimeView mapping technology to the public June 1, and the maps are online for the public as well as for cops. To see the maps in action, go to www.crimemapping.com/map/la/neworleans. — Kevin Allman