Under Ray Kelly, NYPD embraced record as policing weapon

Outgoing New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly took assign of a force in 2002, and ushered in an epoch of information collection and technology, heading a dialect to turn one of a many tech-savvy in a nation.


Chris FrancescaniReuters /
December 28, 2013

Outgoing New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly (c.) sits as a throng gives him a station acclaim during a graduation rite of new New York Police Department officers during Madison Square Garden in New York, Dec 27.

Carlo Allegri/Reuters


New York

In a final weeks of New York City military commissioner Ray Kelly‘s 12-year tenure, a spotlight has been focused on a city’s descending crime rate and the NYPD‘s assertive use of policing strategy like stop-and-frisk.

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Often ignored in press reports about his bequest have been Kelly’s efforts to renovate policing in a country’s biggest city by technological creation and mass data-collection, that has been met with a reduction of regard and accusations of overreaching.

Since holding assign of a force in 2002 that was “still regulating CO paper and White Out,” as Kelly has said, a New York City Police Department has become, by many policing experts’ accounts, a many tech-savvy in a country, and crime has forsaken by a third – twice a inhabitant average, according to some studies.


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Former commissioner Bill Bratton, who will attain Kelly to a post, had in 1995 launched CompStat, a military opening government complement that marks and analyzes real-time crime information and binds unit commanders accountable.

CompStat, that a civic consider tank Manhattan Institute called “the many insubordinate open zone feat of a past quarter-century,” ushered in an epoch of military burden that has been replicated in departments opposite a nation.

It was Kelly, however, who entirely embraced record as a policing weapon.

“I can’t consider of any other law coercion personality who has such a sundry volume of knowledge during each singular turn of law enforcement, and brought so many certain change to this department,” pronounced New York City Councilman Peter F. Vallone Jr, authority of a council’s Public Safety Committee.

Kelly neatly stretched data-driven, corporate-accountability government strategies, built a nation’s many worldly metropolitan notice network, and introduced a high-tech Real Time Crime Center.

He likely this week that record will play an ever-larger purpose in U.S. civic policing, job it a “force multiplier” that allows departments to quarrel crime some-more good even with discontinued forces.

“As we’ve shown here, it can work and it can work well,” Kelly pronounced on Monday.


One of Kelly’s initial moves as commissioner was to re-evaluate a department’s technology. He hired tip experts who complicated corporate giants like Federal Express to know how investing in record could multiply efficiency.

In 2005, the NYPD opened its Real Time Crime Center, a supercomputer that uses worldly data-mining collection to brush by a database filled with billions of open and personal records.

The RTCC, that operates 24/7, has authorised military to fast moment cases that mostly start with a slimmest of leads – a prejudiced permit plate, a nickname, or even only a outline of an assailant’s tattoo.

“They control instant, on-the-spot searches, something that formerly took days,” Kelly pronounced during a Missouriurban crime limit final fall.

Soon after a Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and prolonged before this year’s revelations about the National Security Agency‘s tip data-collection practices, the NYPD began bringing metropolitan databases into a room and formulating new ones.

The NYPD‘s supercomputers can now entrance a star of databases filled with building blueprints, squad tattoo photos, notice video, a 16 million-license-plate database, release records, graffiti tags and a decade of 911 call records.

“Be data-driven,” Kelly urged associate cops during a crime summit. “Numbers are a military department’s best arms opposite crime.”

When a 2012 investigate of New York City gun assault dynamic that gangs or “crews” accounted for 30 percent of a city’s aroused crime, the NYPD created a new database to catalog teenagers concerned in mixed incidents, possibly as assailant or victim.

Kelly doubled a distance of the NYPD gang unit. Within a year, statistics show, a murder rate among 13- to 21-year-olds was cut in half.


Critics contend a department’s data-collection practices have during times left too far, not slightest in a argumentative stop-and-frisk strategy they contend volume to secular profiling.

After Kelly’s NYPD created a database of people stopped, questioned and infrequently frisked by police, many of whom were found to have finished zero wrong, state officials in 2010 upheld a law requiring military to inform any information on people not charged.

Throughout Kelly’s tenure, the NYPD has mostly resisted final from polite liberties groups for information about military operations, call countless lawsuits.

“The military have a ability to make a lives pure to Uncle Sam, though have not exhibited a allied regard for a right to know what they are adult to,” pronounced New York Civil Liberties Union executive directorDonna Lieberman. “You can’t elicit inhabitant confidence as a stratagem for unbridled… policing operations that really clearly bluster to make a fears of George Orwell look quaint.”

Still, Kelly has continued to pursue technological policing advances, even into his final days in office.

On Thursday, the NYPD unveiled a antecedent of a “smart” unit automobile versed with notice cameras, mobile permit image readers, radiation detectors and program that streams real-time information into a department’s executive supercomputers.

It has also been operative for years on a mobile device that could make a stop-and-frisk tactic unnecessary. Developed with U.S. Department of Defense funding, it measures appetite entrance off of a tellurian physique and can detect a plain object, such as a gun, restraint it.

For Kelly, a competition to innovate has not changed fast enough. The initial operative antecedent of such a device will not be accessible for during slightest dual some-more years, he said.


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