Killing of Police Officers Down for Second Year


Got home safely last night. Now about the other guy …
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The number of police officers killed by what the FBI classifies as "felonious acts" dropped nearly in half between 2012 and 2013. The statistics from the FBI were just released today. For 2013, 27 officers were killed (all shot except for one struck by a car) as a result of criminal acts. For 2012, 48 officers died in similar circumstances. In 2012 that was a decline, again significantly from 2011, where 72 were killed. So we went from 72 officers killed as a result of criminal activity a year to 27 over the course of three years.

Assaults against police officers dropped a couple of thousand from about 53,000 to 50,000. Officer deaths due to vehicle crashes remained about the same from year to year (48 versus 47). This seems to go along with the national trend of violent crimes dropping in general. But it goes against the trend of how many people officers themselves have killed. Police fatally shot 461 people in 2013, a trend that's been increasing for the past three years and has reached a two-decade high.

It's an important reminder as we wait for the results of the grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri, deciding whether Darren Wilson will face charges for fatally shooting Michael Brown. It's an important reminder when Cleveland police kill a 12-year-old boy carrying a toy gun. It's an important reminder when we see stories that police have killed more people in Utah over the past five years than any other form of violence outside of domestic conflict. Police have killed more people in Utah since 2010 than gangs or drug dealers.

Obviously, it's a positive that fewer officers are being killed in the line of duty, just as it's a positive that crime trends are heading down. We should be worried, though, if police internalize the idea that this increase in their own shootings is what is keeping them safe in the field and not the general drop in crime.  

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  1. First.

  2. Killings by Utah police outpacing gang, drug, child-abuse homicides

    In the past five years, more Utahns have been killed by police than by gang members.

    Or drug dealers. Or from child abuse.

    And so far this year, deadly force by police has claimed more lives ? 13, including a Saturday shooting in South Jordan ? than has violence between spouses and dating partners.

    1. Somebody's in a rush to link, aren't they?

      1. Oh sure, you were just waiting for one of us to slip up and...pounce.

    2. n=13

      Such a big data set. You can totally draw conclusions from this.

      1. Hey, you go to analyze with the data set you have, not the data set you wish you had.

        The facts are what they are.

        1. He determined Utah is not important, and that is all there is to it.

          Feelings are what matters. Gut feelings. And preconceived notions. And unicorns.

        2. Yes, but small data sets are inherently going to show extremes rather than norms.

          1. I read it as "here is statistical evidence, and in Utah it is even worse."

            1. Sure, and the statement "in Utah it is even worse" should be called into question because it's a small sample size, and is prone to show extremes.

              Actually, N doesn't equal 13. 13 is the number of deaths, while N should be the number of trials. So, N should be number of interactions that police have with "civilians"

    3. Killings of po-po down.
      Killings by po-po up.

      Most recent death in Utah was of the Darrien Hunt said to be cosplaying. The initial reports turned out to be all wrong. From how he was shot (autopsy revealed it was all from the back) to drugs (never had any), to affidavit from witness (the guy came forward and corrected many mistakes; he never saw Darrien lunge or swing at cops, only that he saw the flash of the replica sword as it was unsheathed when Darrien was talking with the cops). That link also has surveillance footage of Darrien showing him being chased down at the end, contradicting the cops story.

      In this respect Utah is no different than any other state.

      1. The only time a police report can be trusted is when video corroborates it. Otherwise it is fair to assume that everything in the report is a mix of lying by omission, lying by exaggeration, and lying by fabrication.

  3. It's an important reminder when we see stories that police have killed more people in Utah over the past five years than any other form of violence outside of domestic conflict. Police have killed more people in Utah since 2010 than gangs or drug dealers.

    I'm sure the example of Utah is totally representative of the wider United States. Wasn't a cherry picked example at all.

    1. You are right, it should not be mentioned at all. Facts are stupid.

      Utah doesn't count!

    2. Suck that cop dick! Slurp slurp!

      1. Speaking of tulpa, I was playing TF2 a couple of days back when I saw an opposing player going by the handle of "tulpa" - I switched over to pyro and flamethrowered him. It was quite satisfying.

    3. What area would you prefer the Salt Lake Tribune focus on?

      1. Any area that fits his cop-loving narrative.

  4. Obviously, it's a positive that fewer officers are being killed in the line of duty,

    Only if you assume that situations in which shooting a cop isn't legally and morally justified have also decreased.

    I see no reason to make that assumption.

    1. Whenever someone kills a cop I assume it was self defense unless it can be proven otherwise.

      1. Same here, with the proviso that I include self-defense against the State.

        1. It may be the only way to drive the message home that 10% capsicum is not a search warrant.

    2. It would be an interesting (and personally dangerous) project to try to figure out which killings of cops were in fact morally justified (I'm thinking more are probably morally justified than legally justified).

  5. For 2013, 27 officers were killed (all shot except for one struck by a car) as a result of criminal acts.

    Why is it when my mental image of the one that got hit by a car came up, it was a police cruiser that ran him down? Also, how many of those were shot by other cops during frenetic shooting incidents where panic and chain-shooting overcome rationality?

    1. When your fellow officer starts shooting wildly the only ration response is to start depressing your trigger as quickly as possible as well, aim be damned!

    2. The article specifies it was "criminal activity". I assume the number is a lot larger when you include "friendly fire" accidents from their own colleagues.

      1. I regard reckless endangerment and depraved indifference to be crimes.

      2. They frequently charge the person being shot at with murder/manslaughter when they miss, so I think they could easily group most friendly fire in with criminal activity.

  6. I would have to assume that since the police are shooting first at anyone they consider remotely threatening, be they 12 year old kid or chihuahua, the numbers of police being killed would surely drop.

    1. Don't forget unarmed men in dark stairwells. Are NYPD rookie cops issued Depends?

  7. DECISION TODAY: Prosecutor will announce whether Officer Darren Wilson will be charged for killing Michael Brown after grand jury reaches its verdict

    Oh boy!

  8. How many cops were killed by dogs? Given how many dogs were killed while attacking cops, there have to have been dozens, if not hundreds of cops gravely injured or killed by dogs last year, right?

    1. The lack of cops killed by dogs just proves that the "kill the pooch first" strategy is working.

    2. I did some research on that and the answer is zero. No cop has ever been killed by a dog. However many civilians have been killed by police dogs.

  9. Assaults against police officers dropped a couple of thousand from about 53,000 to 50,000

    I'd like to know what's considered "assault". From what I know, if you don't immediately comply with an officer who's cuffing you-- if you jerk your arm away and it whiffs under the officer's chin, the officer will consider that 'assault' and you'll rack up charges.

    I'm not suggesting police officers aren't assaulted in earnest, but I'm guessing there may be hundreds, if not thousands of minor incidents where an officer is legally able to claim 'assault' under very flimsy circs.

    1. I figure most charges of assault against the police are just boilerplate lies where they pile on a dozen false charges, and the guy has no choice but to accept a plea bargain.

    2. Good point. The real question should be "How many proles were convicted of aggravated assault or assault and battery of a cop."

      The legal term "assault" catches all sort of "unwanted touchings" that most people don't think of as assault as such.

    3. I wouldn't be surprised if a significant majority of these assaults are "assaults."

  10. I checked the numbers recently, and guess what job is more dangerous than cop? Retail manager, on both a total and per capita basis. Thin blue line my ass.

  11. The mortality rate for police and firefighters has been dropping DRAMATICALLY. The old saw about how deadly such work no longer stands scrutiny -- compared to quite a number of other occupations.

    It seems the biggest reason for the mortality improvement is common sense. Two "reforms" that should have been adopted decades ago.

    1. Firefighters are now required to wear seat belts in the truck. Yes, this is quite a recent innovation. Seems driving frantically to a fire results in accidents, from time to time.

    2. Police officers are now expected to wear their bullet-resistant vests while on duty. Seems the vests stop bullets and knives, from time to time.

    Who knew?

  12. For a little international comparison, recently a study came out that shows that the police in Brazil kill on average 6 persons a day. In the five years between 2009 and 2013, the Brazilian police killed 11,197 persons, while it took 30 years for the police to kill 11,090 in the US, which has a total population more than 50 percent greater. (By the way, over half of the deaths by police were in Rio state, which is pretty rough.) To put this in context, in 2013 there were 490 police deaths, of which approximately 120 were killed on the job.

    If anybody who reads Portuguese cares to check out the article:


    1. But, but, Hyperion keeps telling me how much freer and better Brazil is than the US!!!!11!!

    2. Yeah, that's meaningful. Thanks?

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