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Securing Safe Streets

Program name: Community Mapping, Planning & Analysis for Safety Strategies (COMPASS)

Sponsoring agency: U.S. Department of Justice

Program description: To create safer and more livable communities, that will use knowledge to develop interventions aimed at increasing public safety. COMPASS promotes collaborative problem-solving based on a rich, comprehensive Geographic Information System that feeds information to local councils. The system features a predictive mapping component that will enable policymakers to determine crime hot spots and other relationships between crime and place; crime and time, etc., are about to emerge in order to prevent them. COMPASS also has a data collection component, which includes drug use data (from arrestees, through the ADAM program), local surveys, incident based crime data, gun tracing, and a long menu of neighborhood surveys from which decisionmakers may incorporate, potentially including the "Communities That Care" juvenile survey, measures of collective efficacy and asset mapping.

COMPASS includes a regional analysis element to encourage jurisdictions to look beyond their administrative boundaries and coordinate efforts with neighboring agencies when analyzing crime problems and developing interventions. COMPASS is not designed around one specific crime problem, but serves as a resource and supports a collaborative effort across all community public safety issues.

Who is eligible to get funds from this project? Communities will compete to participate in COMPASS.

What types of projects are eligible? Communities (through the mayor or county executive) will be eligible to apply. Competitive proposals will involve broad collaboration among local organizations, government, and a research partner, and a problem-solving, information-driven approach to enhancing public safety.

What funds are available? The President's Budget for Fiscal Year 2001 requests $10 million to start the COMPASS program. However, the actual amount will be determined by Congressional action. Federal financial support for COMPASS will vary from site to site depending on the jurisdiction's existing data sources and information technology systems.

How can we apply? You can contact Eric Dalton (, 202 514-5752) or Laura Winterfield (, 202 616-3482).

Program Example: The National Institute of Justice and its partners in the Office of Justice Programs conducted a competition of selected cities to choose the initial pilot COMPASS site ( Seattle, Washington, was chosen because of its leadership, capacity for innovation, and history of problem solving in previous public safety related initiatives.

The Mayor's Office is taking the leading role in managing COMPASS. Other major stakeholders in Seattle include the City Council; the Police Department; the Chief Technology Office ; the U.S. Attorney's Office; the Department of Corrections; the County Public Health Department; local schools and hospital emergency rooms; Neighborhood Action Teams (NAT'S); local Block Watches; other county, city, and Federal agencies; and private and nonprofit partners.

The primary goal for Seattle is to use the COMPASS approach to help policymakers and local communities develop proactive strategies to address public safety problems. For example, Seattle's Block Watchers, which were created in Seattle in the early 1970's to be the "eyes and ears" of the police department, will use public safety data generated through COMPASS to understand and respond to problems in Seattle's neighborhood.

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Last Modified: June 23, 2000