Violence Against Police at a 60-year Low

Here’s a bracing snapshot into the reality of violence against police from a truly serious libertarian and reporter named Radley Balko.

Police Tape


It’s been a little more than a year since media outlets and police organizations first started reporting about a mounting “war on cops.” Law enforcement officials and commentators blamed budget shortfalls, anti-government sentiment, gun ownership and other causes for the rising violence against police.

We’re now about halfway through 2012, and this year is on pace to be the safest ever for America’s police officers. Oddly, no one is reporting it.

Fifty officers have died on duty so far this year, a 44-percent decrease from last year, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF). More remarkably, 17 have died from gunfire, down 55 percent from last year. (21 died in traffic accidents, the remaining 12 in various other incidents.) If the second half of this year follows the first, fewer officers will have died on duty this year than in any year since 1944, a time when there were far, far fewer police officers.

Repeat that last sentence: “If the second half of this year follows the first, fewer officers will have died on duty this year than in any year since 1944, a time when there were far, far fewer police officers.”

Not only has the rate plunged, actual deaths are greatly diminished. And deaths from violence down even further. All this has happened at a time when jail and prison populations have actually begun to decline after astonishing 30-year climbs. Look at this chart on this link and think of all the families the drug war has torn apart. Notice how in the 20s, we didn’t incarcerate drug dealers, errr bootleggers, even though we outlawed alcohol.

A big part of our society wants to believe — and wants you to believe — that our young people in this country are ne’er-do-well hellions with no respect for law or authority or their country.

Yet, we know that throughout history that young adults are the cohort that commit crime. If we accept that and compare different generations of young people, this generation is distinguishing itself as orderly, respectful, and patriotic. Let’s review key indicators:

Violence against police: 60-year-low
Crime: Continued decrease
Teen pregnancy: 40-year-low.

This at a time when young people are under constant attack by the Medicare generation. By any objective measure, they are far better citizens than you were at their age, middle-age and elderly people. So stop lying about them. And stop helping, media.

And while police officer remains a dangerous job — the tragic cases of Arnulfo Crispin and Matt Williams attest to that — it is slanderous for Grady Judd and his henchmen to dress up in posse suits for a photo op, as if Polk County is Dodge City.

Stop slandering your community and constituents, sheriff. It’s beneath you.


Creative Commons License image credit: Ian Britton

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