Date of Award
In 1996, the New Orleans Police Department implemented the COMSTAT management and accountability style of policing. Within three years of that implementation, murder was cut by over fifty percent and violent crime fell by nearly the same amount; overall crime was cut by over one-third compared to just three years ago. This dissertation seeks to explore the reasons crime declined so rapidly in New Orleans post-COMSTAT implementation, compared to crime in the rest of the country. Drawing on political and criminological theories of policing as well as sociological theories, variables unique to each set of theories were identified and tested alone and against competing explanations. Utilizing higher-ordered time series methodology, two analyses were conducted. The first utilized interrupted time-series analysis to identify the nature of COMSTAT's impact on New Orleans' crime trends, measured as changes in the current quarter compared to the same quarter of the preceding year. The results show that while COMSTAT had a significant impact on the crime trends, the effects were short-lived. The second analysis utilized traditional time series methodology to examine the impacts of the individual variables on the overall crime trends. The results show that while policing variables and sociological variables have little effect on the overall crime trends both individually and when tested together, the findings indicate policing variables play a larger role than sociological variables when included together. As another independent test of the effects of crime, public opinion data obtained via the University of New Orleans' Survey Research Center from 1986-2004 show that the public was very positive towards the NOPD's efforts in dramatically reducing crime and fear of crime in New Orleans during this period. The overall results for policy makers then indicates that reductions in crime resonate positively with city residents and future policy decisions should be made with that goal in mind.
Unter, Kevin A., "The New Orleans Police Department: Melding Police and Policy to Dramatically Reduce Crime in the City of New Orleans" (2007). University of New Orleans Theses and Dissertations. 599.