Title: The Hartford COMPASS Program

Citation: Tien, M. James., Rich, F. Thomas. (1994). The Hartford COMPASS Program, P. 192-206, ed. The Challenge of Community Policing: Testing the Promise. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Keywords: Weed and Seed Programs, Community Initiatives, Crime-Specific Policing

This chapter describes the City of Hartford, Connecticut’s Cartographic Oriented Management Program for the Abatement of Street Sales (COMPASS) program in 1990. COMPASS was to represent a different approach to improve the quality of life in the areas that were affected by crimes and drugs. Hartford’s Police Department used a computer-based mapping tool to first examine specific target areas that would be targeted to rid drug problems and criminal activity. Target areas were characterized by three basic criteria used in selecting the COMPASS target areas. The first criterion was the area had to have a serious drug problem with open-air drug sales. Secondly, the area had to have a Community Service Officer (CSO) assigned to the area. The third and final criterion was the area had to have a community organization that was active in weeding and seeding efforts. Once the areas were selected, the police department attempted to execute warrants on persons involved in the area’s drug trade. The execution of these warrants coincided with a press conference announcing the presence of the COMPASS program in the target area. COMPASS was implemented in four target areas Charter Oak Terrace, Milner, Frog Hollow, and Asylum Hill. Based on the findings from this study the COMPASS program generated extensive public publicity for the city, significantly increased the effectiveness of weeding tactics, and weeding success spawned community support and participation.