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by Peter Moskos

November 10, 2010

NYPD Holds Fire

The Wall Street Journal reports:
New York City police fired fewer bullets at suspects last year than any time since the department first began keeping in-depth shooting statistics 39 years ago
...
In 2008, the department was also involved in 105 shooting incidents, with the 125 officers firing a total of 364 bullets. No city police officer last year was shot by a suspect for the first time since the police department started keeping detailed shooting statistics in 1971
I was just talking about this in class last week.

In 1972, the NYPD was involved in 211 shootings. In 2006 (the last I have data for), the number was 31. That's a big drop. And it's been a pretty consistent drop with the notable exception of the late 1980s during the rise in crack. It's something the NYPD should get more credit for. And it's often overlooked when there is a high-profile controversial shooting.

To put these numbers in some (somewhat random) context, in 2006: 35,000 NYPD had killed 13. 2,100 Las Vegas PD had killed 12. 6,600 Philadelphia PD had killed 19.

In Baltimore, about 3,000 Baltimore City Police Officers shot 31 in 2007, 21 in 2006 and 11 in 2004.

Higher levels of violence in places like Baltimore explain some of this difference, but not all of it.

[Update: Here's Al Baker's take in the Times.]

5 comments:

Bob G. said...

PCM:
I DO hope that the NYPD means firing FEWER rounds equates to being ON TARGET more often.

Great to see NO officers were down last year in NYC, too.

Stay safe.

PCM said...

Actually, no.

For years in which I could find data (2005-2008), the number of shooting incidents was 117, 115, 148, and 125. The numbers of police-involved shootings for the first two years (that's all I got) were 34 and 31. Fatal shootings (which I have for all four years) were 9, 13, 10, and 13.

It doesn't change much over these years. And the odds of somebody at a shooting incident getting shot is pretty low, about 28%.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget that in the 70s cops could shoot a fleeing felon.

PCM said...

I should mention, when it comes to aim, that not of all the "shooting incidents" involve shooting at a person.

And certainly Tennessee v. Garner did a lot to limit shootings (though most departments had restricted shooting fleeing felons long before 1985).

I worked with one officer who patrolled in pre-Garner days. "I shot at a lot of people. Didn't hit any of them." The best part, he says, is there was no paperwork. You just went out and bought more ammo.

MisguidedPotential said...

"No city police officer last year was shot by a suspect for the first time since the police department started keeping detailed shooting statistics in 1971."

Looks like NYPD beat themselves to the punch shooting their own up like in Harlem