NYPD training Thai police in higher-tech crime fighting



The New York City Police Department is set to give the Bangkok Metropolitan Police the CompStat computer program that helped ‘New York’s Finest’ dramatically reduce crime in the Big Apple since the 1990s, making Thailand the first country in Asia to receive this technology.

The New York City Police Department (NYPD) has also been providing analyses and training to their counterparts in the Thai capital, the first time New York’s police have been collaborating with a police force in Asia. The two law enforcement agencies have been cooperating for the past two years with the aim of upgrading and modernizing the methods and systems used by Bangkok’s police.

“Before we used [methods] which were effective at certain levels, but this new system will allow us to monitor every area all the time,” said Bangkok Metropolitan Police chief Sanit Mahatavorn. “This will be useful for everyone, from the command center commanders all the way to the precinct level.”

CompStat was developed by a New York City transit policeman and adopted by the entire department under former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Police Commissioner William Bratton. Although it makes use of computer programs to track spikes in crime in specific areas, it also encompasses management, philosophy and operational tools. Its proponents say it reduces crime, improves quality of life where used, and makes effective use of personnel and resources.

While criminologists say there are many reasons for New York City’s transition from a crime capital to one of the safest cities in the United States, CompStat played a significant role. The year after CompStat was adopted, 1995, murders dropped to 1,181. By 2003, there were 596 murders, the lowest number since 1964.

“The system has reduced crime in New York dramatically,” NYPD assistant chief Terence Monahan told Channel News Asia. “We were an unsafe city 21 years ago. Now we are the safest big city in America. We had 2,000 homicides 21 years ago, but only 333 last year.  We had 80,000 robberies 21 years ago, just 8,000 last year. The crime numbers are tremendous.”

The Erawan Shrine bomb attack in September 2015 spurred the Bangkok police to request CompStat. The investigation into that crime revealed weaknesses in data sharing between different Thai security agencies. Analysis of the closed circuit television (CCTV) was so slow because different agencies controlled different CCTV cameras.

“We are now fighting crime with a much larger database,” said Yingyos Leechaianan of the Royal Thai Police foreign affairs division. “Next, we will connect all the CCTV cameras to the police system, and this will make it easier for us to analyze the footage.”

Once the system is up and running smoothly in the Thai capital, the Royal Thai Police plan to use it in other areas around the country. CompStat is now in use in a dozen major cities in the United States including Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Photo Credit: FB SHSU College of Criminal Justice