Civilian and Police Homicide Rates Roughly Comparable


Police Badges Mourning

The Examiner is citing the Twitter curation site Twitchy regarding reports on three alleged attempts at assassinating police officers in the past 24 hours. In addition, Reuters has posted an article with the alarming headline, "Gun deaths for U.S. officers rose by 56 percent in 2014." From Reuters:

Gun related deaths of U.S. law enforcement officers rose by 56 percent in 2014 compared to the previous year, with about one-third of officers killed in an ambush, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund said on Tuesday.

Across the country, 50 officers were killed by guns in 2014 compared to 32 in 2013, according to the website of the non-profit fund, which aims to increase safety for law enforcement officers.

The most deadly states were California, Texas, New York, Florida and Georgia, the group said.

"Fifteen officers were shot and killed in ambush, more than any other circumstance of fatal shootings in 2014," the website said.

Let's do some rough calculations to give the Reuters headline a bit of context. The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) notes that there are 900,000 sworn law enforcement officers in the United States—a record number. The NLEOMF notes that two of the gunfire deaths were accidental. So the death of 48 officers yields a homicide rate of about 5.3 per 100,000. The FBI reports that the overall 2013 (latest figures) homicide rate was 4.6 per 100,000 Americans. In 2013, excluding two accidental deaths, the homicide rate for police was about 3.3 per 100,000 officers.

In 2011, the 68 officers died from gunfire in the line of duty, so the rate that year was roughly 7.5 per 100,000.

It should go without saying, but here goes anyway: Murder is wrong, period. Everyone who has lost friends and family to this most heinous of crimes deserves our sympathy.