Deaths from Law Enforcement Rose 45% Between 1999 and 2013
The number of people killed by law enforcement officials rose 45% between 1999 and 2013, a new study finds.
Researchers based out of Florida Atlantic and Baylor Universities obtained the finding by examining the Compressed Mortality File maintained by the National Center for Health Statistics Centers. They announced their discovery in the December issue of the journal Preventive Medicine.
"Between 1999 and 2013 in the US, there were 5,551 deaths by legal intervention," the authors reported. Nationwide, mortality rates by legal intervention now stand at 0.24 per 100,000 individuals among Blacks, 0.11 among Whites, and 0.05 among Asians.
Rates are higher in certain states. In Nevada, California, and Maryland, mortality rates among blacks eclipse 1 per 100,000 individuals, making them comparable to the death rates for malnutrition, asthma, and accidental drowning.
The two districts with the highest mortality rates from police intervention are Riverside County, California and Baltimore Maryland. Respectively, 2.4 and 1.82 out of every 100,000 blacks are killed by law enforcement in those areas.
Police killings increased between 1999 and 2013 despite a 29.4% drop in violent crime over the same period.
It's possible that the large increase in deaths by law enforcement could be attributed to a rise in reporting. Police killings have been widely covered in the media of late, and this may prompt officials to take greater care in reporting these deadly incidents.
Overall, the authors say the data may actually underestimate the deaths due to law enforcement, as the statistics don't pertain to illegal immigrants.
The authors also stress that deaths from law enforcement are still exceedingly rare, and this may make the mortality rates unreliable.
The authors offered no policy solutions for the situation, simply concluding, "The demographic and geographic variations in these data likely reflect deep-rooted social issues requiring broad-based national and local solutions."
Source: Joanna Drowosa, Charles H. Hennekens, Robert S. Levine. "Variations in mortality from legal intervention in the United States—1999 to 2013." Preventive Medicine Volume 81, December 2015, Pages 290–293
(Image: Associated Press)