“Using Crowd-Sourced Data to Explore Police-Related-Deaths in the United States (2000–2017): The Case of Fatal Encounters”


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

We evaluated the Fatal Encounters (FE) database as an open-source surveillance system for tracking police-related deaths (PRDs). We compared the coverage of FE data to several known government sources of police-related deaths and police homicide data. We also replicated incident selection from a recent review of the National Violent Death Reporting System. FE collected data on n = 23,578 PRDs from 2000–2017. A pilot study and ongoing data integration suggest greater coverage than extant data sets. Advantages of the FE data include circumstance of death specificity, incident geo-locations, identification of involved police-agencies, and near immediate availability of data. Disadvantages include a high rate of missingness for decedent race/ethnicity, potentially higher rates of missing incidents in older data, and the exclusion of more comprehensive police use-of-force and nonlethal use-of-force data—a critique applicable to all extant data sets. FE is the largest collection of PRDs in the United States and remains as the most likely source for historical trend comparisons and police-department level analyses of the causes of PRDs.

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