News & Views » Columns

Killer data

by

comment

According to one criminologist, it’s the most exhaustive examination of fatal shootings by police since the 1980s — and it provides more evidence that Detroit has a problem. The 1990-2000 study conducted by the Washington Post and published last month shows that among the nation’s 50 largest cities, Detroit has the third-highest number annually of such fatalities per 100,000 residents. Washington, D.C., topped the list at 1.53 fatalities per 100,000 residents followed by Baltimore with 0.91, Detroit at 0.87, New Orleans with 0.73 and Denver with 0.66. By comparison, New York City was ranked 28th (0.33), Los Angeles 12th (0.53) and Chicago 22nd (0.42).

But the Post also correlated fatalities to the size of police forces and to overall levels of violent crime and arrests. And in those other categories Detroit ranks lower: The city ranks 12th for fatalities per 100,000 arrests and 43rd for fatalities per 100 murders, for instance.

While praising the Post effort — which actually focused on problems in neighboring Prince George’s County — criminologist James J. Fyfe lamented that no government agency systematically collects data on such a controversial subject. Fyfe, writing in the Post: “However it is done, it is important that our government finds a way to assure us that the police we pay to protect us are mandated to tell how often they kill.”

Click here to visit the Washington Post's main Web page containing articles about the shootings.

Click here to be taken directly to the Washington Post's Web page containing statistics of fatal shootings by police.

Metro Times managing editor W. Kim Heron contributed to News Hits, which is edited by Curt Guyette. He can be reached at 313-202-8004 or cguyette@metrotimes.com

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.