Come on, America, we can do better than that…
We are currently at about 3 per day: http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/another-much-higher-count-of-police-homicides/
Looks like we’re going to have to step up our game. We need about 9/day to get up to the same per capita rate.
Blarg. Statistics are weird.
So - three people dead per day due to police actions sounds obviously excessive. But then you compare to population, which is hundreds of millions, and to other forms of death and the scale goes all wonky.
In 2011 there were 2,515,458 deaths in the US, which is about 6,892 deaths per day. Three deaths per day doesn’t like much in that frame of reference, suddenly.
But back on the flipside, of all those deaths, there were 14,610 reported homicides, which is about 40 homicides per day - and 3 out of 40 (or out of 43, assuming “reported homicides” doesn’t include non-reported deaths caused by police) is much more worrisome.
But then there’s the question of how many police shootings are justified? If 40 non-police homicides are carried out every single day, we have to expect the police response will inevitably result in some number of people involved in said homicides coming under fire from the police, and entirely justifiably.
And that’s just the situations where homicides have already taken place. What about attempted murder, or even just assault? What about home invasion and burglary? What about any number of other situations in which a police officer might justifiably have to fire their weapon at someone?
Heck, I’m curious to know how many times per day the police respond to all crimes total. If we’re dealing with some absurdly high number of potentially violent events per day, perhaps only 3 deaths resulting from it is markedly low?
To be honest, I have no real clue whether three police related deaths per day is out of line or not. The numbers are too complicated, and most of them are not readily available. And even if I had them on hand, analyzing them is still difficult and confusing.
And if we’re comparing to Brazil, we also need to adjust for population, and talk in terms of percentages instead of raw numbers of deaths - because the US population is over 50% larger than the Brazilian population… and we also need to compensate for Brazil’s crime rates compared to ours… and we also need to compensate for differences of laws, with Brazil perhaps having less strict controls on lethal force…
Et cetera… et cetera… et cetera…
The NYPD will be sending a task force to Brazil …
… to study their methods
Hey Glitch, hey boingboingers
I do get your point about the numbers. It is all way too confusing to seriously understand them for Brazil, let alone compare two very diferent countries.
But maybe I could provide some context about kind of police we are talking about and what these numbers mean in Brazilian context.
The “police” force in Brazil is a military arm which has been around for about 200 years, and was originaly conceived to hunt down runaway slaves. It has out-survived: Portuguese monarchy, one Republican period, a long military dictatorship. Still today, it is the only institution in Brazil which has not “renewed” its structure since the birth of democracy in 1984.
So, numbers. yep, it is complicated, but the studies which have been popping up this week indicate that Brazilian police have killed more people in the last 5 years (11.197 people) than the whole of the US in 30 years (11.090 people). Would it be that there is a lot more violence in Brazil? Yes, I could imagine so.
But that definitely doesn’t justify the fact that the vast majority of the bodies that fall are black, young and ghettoed for centuries. In fact, the “police” are one of the most corrupt institutions in Brazil, famous for executing people. Just last week some officers coordinated a nightly attack (via twitter, dumbasses!) as a “para-military” action to avenge a deceased police officer. They just went crazy.
Daily corruption, drug dealing, raping. Brazilian police cannot be taken seriously as an institution. They do not regard citizens as such, they are military, thus they regard the citizen as a potential enemy. Not cool.
One of the main flags of activist groups here is the “de-militarization” of the police force into a civilian police force, with proper education and training to deal with p-e-o-p-l-e rather than enemies.
I don’t think this is even a topic outside Brazil so I’ll just end here.
I just wanted to give my 2 cents that I totally agree with Glitch, numbers are uncanny, but context is important.
If anyone wants to know more or get sources let me know, so I don’t write into the void.
Does that include off duty Brazilian cops working as security guards? Because those guys are superstars of internet carnage. To be fair, every shooting I’ve seen has been an armed subject. And often it doesn’t look like anyone calls an ambulance for them either - the bystanders just make cell phone videos of the perp bleeding out.
Just agreat movie.
Of course, 3/day is still enormously more Americans than Ebola or Terrorism, so you’d think the media would devote far more time to this problem than those.
Brazilians of my acquaintance often like to talk about how they are Americans too.
But then, the media machine essentially runs on the trivial - celebrities, fashion and trends, minor and non-threats that can be made to sound scary, and opinion pieces.
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