The national average, the rate of people killed by police (as they define it, which is pretty loose, but OK) is 0.36 per 100,000. This is over the past 23 months. That's roughly 1,135 killed per year.
This is based on these data from May 2013 to April 2014. I believe it's similar to (but a bit messier than) killedbypolice.net. But it's got city and county data, which isn't at killedbypolice.net.
Now we already know that the rate of being killed by police is a hell of a lot higher in Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Arizona (0.8) -- five times higher -- than it is in New Jersey, Michigan, and New York (0.15).
But states are big and have hundreds of police departments. I want to break it down by city. The rate in California is twice the national average. I don't think San Francisco police are shooting a lot of people. So who is?
Well, Bakersfield (rate = 2.1, which includes killing in the city killings both by the Bakersfield PD and the Kern County Sheriff Dept.), Salinas (2.0), Stockton (1.4), Fresno (1.1), and Santa Ana (0.9) come to mind. These are crazy high rates.
Super high seem to be Kansas City, MO (rate = 2.0), Oklahoma City (1.7), St Louis (1.5), Tulsa (1.4), Phoenix (1.2), and Albuquerque (1.1). Remember all these figures are rough. So I don't mean to rank order, but I do mean to group these cities together.
Bakersfield? Salinas? Maybe it's been a bad two years, but there are only 363,000 people who live in Bakersfield. Between 2012 and 2013, the NYPD killed 21 people. And in the past 23 months 15(!) people have bit the dust in Bakersfield? Do correct me if I'm wrong. The stats may be a fluke. Or maybe it was a bad two years. Or maybe the numbers are wrong. But it's still a hell of a red flag!
The rate in Los Angeles 0.5. That's not quite twice the national average... but it's one-forth of Bakersfield and Salinas. Baltimore's rate is 0.9. Chicago comes in at 0.6.
The NYPD? The big bad NYPD? The killers of Diallo, Gurley, Bell, Garner, and so many other?
Zero-point-one-three. New York City's rate is 0.13. The rate of people killed by police in one-third the national average. This is amazing.
Put another way, Chicagoans are 5 times as likely to be killed by police. Baltimoreans 7 times as likely. And Bakersfield? Lovely Bakersfield? In the streets of Bakersfield you're 16 times more likely to be killed by police than you are in New York City. [Update 2017: This is no longer true. The number of people killed by police in Bakersfield has declined greatly. But the overall numbers for small- to medium-sized cities west of the Mississippi are still very large.]
[Update: See Nick Selby's description of those shot and killed by police in Bakersfield. Maybe the streets just really are meaner.]
Think of this, too, as my NYPD friends do. Shootings by NYPD may be tragic, but compared to the rest of the nation, they really do seem to fall in the category of isolated incidents. Whatever the NYPD is doing to shoot so few people seems to be a case of best practices. Maybe the focus should be not to criticize the NYPD but to learn from it. The systemic problems seem to be out west. And maybe people who want to protest police shootings should protest police who really are shooting too many people.
Go west, young man, go west. There is health in the country, and room away from our crowds of idlers and imbeciles.
[I want to emphasize these results are primarily, not double-checked, and based on unverified data. But the even as just ballpark figures, the differences are too dramatic to ignore.]