Saturday, July 16, 2016

Geography of police shootings

The Washington Post has compiled a database of fatal shootings by police in 2015 and 2016.  Breaking it down by state seems like an obvious thing to do, but I haven't seen anyone do it, so here are the rates (per 100,000) by state.


New Mexico     1.6
Wyoming        1.4
Alaska         1.1
Oklahoma       1.1
DC             1.1
Arizona        1.0
Nevada         0.9
Colorado       0.9


Mass.          0.25
Pennsylvania   0.23
Maine          0.23
Michigan       0.22
New Jersey     0.21
Rhode Island   0.19
New York       0.15
Connecticut    0.14

The general pattern is clear: fatal shootings by police are most common in the West and least common in the Northeast.  The South may be a little higher than average, but doesn't stand out:  southern states range from 10th (Louisiana) to 35th (Virginia).  Of course, there are racial and ethnic differences:  27% of those killed were black and 18% were Hispanic.  But controlling for population composition would make the West stand out even more, since the black population is relatively small in those states.

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