Organization and Information in the Fight against Crime: The Integration of Police Forces in the State of Minas Gerais, Brazil


This paper analyzes the experience of information sharing, coordination, and integration of actions of the civil and military police forces in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, in the context of the IGESP program. The IGESP was based on the introduction of information management systems and organizational changes akin to those associated with the CompStat system originally developed in New York City. The evidence points to a causal effect of the IGESP on crime. The most conservative estimates indicate a reduction of 23 percent in violent property crimes due to the introduction of the program. There is also evidence that the IGESP is associated with improved police response, measured by apprehension of weapons and clearance rates. We present one of the few estimates available with a clear identification strategy of the impact of CompStat-like programs. The results suggest that coordination of actions and efficient use of information may constitute first-order factors in the fight against crime.