SciCombinator

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Concept: Police

1374

Several high-profile cases in the U.S. have drawn public attention to the use of lethal force by law enforcement (LE), yet research on such fatalities is limited. Using data from a public health surveillance system, this study examined the characteristics and circumstances of these violent deaths to inform prevention.

Concepts: Public health, Epidemiology, U.S. state, Police, Health policy, Surveillance

867

A geographically-resolved, multi-level Bayesian model is used to analyze the data presented in the U.S. Police-Shooting Database (USPSD) in order to investigate the extent of racial bias in the shooting of American civilians by police officers in recent years. In contrast to previous work that relied on the FBI’s Supplemental Homicide Reports that were constructed from self-reported cases of police-involved homicide, this data set is less likely to be biased by police reporting practices. County-specific relative risk outcomes of being shot by police are estimated as a function of the interaction of: 1) whether suspects/civilians were armed or unarmed, and 2) the race/ethnicity of the suspects/civilians. The results provide evidence of a significant bias in the killing of unarmed black Americans relative to unarmed white Americans, in that the probability of being {black, unarmed, and shot by police} is about 3.49 times the probability of being {white, unarmed, and shot by police} on average. Furthermore, the results of multi-level modeling show that there exists significant heterogeneity across counties in the extent of racial bias in police shootings, with some counties showing relative risk ratios of 20 to 1 or more. Finally, analysis of police shooting data as a function of county-level predictors suggests that racial bias in police shootings is most likely to emerge in police departments in larger metropolitan counties with low median incomes and a sizable portion of black residents, especially when there is high financial inequality in that county. There is no relationship between county-level racial bias in police shootings and crime rates (even race-specific crime rates), meaning that the racial bias observed in police shootings in this data set is not explainable as a response to local-level crime rates.

Concepts: Scientific method, United States, Relative risk, Crime, White American, Police, Bayes factor, Constable

181

Lead (Pb) is a toxic substance with well-known, multiple, long-term, adverse health outcomes. Shooting guns at firing ranges is an occupational necessity for security personnel, police officers, members of the military, and increasingly a recreational activity by the public. In the United States alone, an estimated 16,000-18,000 firing ranges exist. Discharge of Pb dust and gases is a consequence of shooting guns.

Concepts: United States, Poverty in the United States, U.S. state, Toxicology, Photography, Police, Conscription, Information security

171

Policing is generally considered a high-risk profession for the development of mental health problems, but this assumption lacks empirical evidence. Research question of the present study is to what extent mental health disturbances, such as (very) severe symptoms of anxiety, depression and hostility are more prevalent among police officers than among other occupational groups.

Concepts: Psychology, Epidemiology, Research, Mental disorder, Empirical research, Police, Constable, Police officer

168

Prior research suggests that United States governmental sources documenting the number of law-enforcement-related deaths (i.e., fatalities due to injuries inflicted by law enforcement officers) undercount these incidents. The National Vital Statistics System (NVSS), administered by the federal government and based on state death certificate data, identifies such deaths by assigning them diagnostic codes corresponding to “legal intervention” in accordance with the International Classification of Diseases-10th Revision (ICD-10). Newer, nongovernmental databases track law-enforcement-related deaths by compiling news media reports and provide an opportunity to assess the magnitude and determinants of suspected NVSS underreporting. Our a priori hypotheses were that underreporting by the NVSS would exceed that by the news media sources, and that underreporting rates would be higher for decedents of color versus white, decedents in lower versus higher income counties, decedents killed by non-firearm (e.g., Taser) versus firearm mechanisms, and deaths recorded by a medical examiner versus coroner.

Concepts: United States, Federal government of the United States, U.S. state, Source code, A priori, Police, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal government

141

In the United States, state firearm ownership has been correlated with homicide rates. More than 90% of homicides of law enforcement officers (LEOs) are committed with firearms. We examined the relationship between state firearm ownership rates and LEO occupational homicide rates.

Concepts: United States, Poverty in the United States, U.S. state, Appeal, Police, Law of the United States, Common law, Federal Bureau of Investigation

118

To update previous examinations of racial/ethnic disparities in the use of lethal force by US police.

Concepts: Police

111

Police agencies in Canada and elsewhere have received much criticism over how they respond to persons with serious mental disorders. The adequacy of training provided to police officers on mental health issues and in particular on recognizing indicators of serious mental disorders has been a major concern. This paper describes the process that led to the development of a new brief mental health screener (interRAI Brief Mental Health Screener, BMHS) designed to assist police officers to better identify persons with serious mental disorders. The interRAI BMHS was developed in collaboration with interRAI, an international, not-for-profit consortium of researchers. The government of Ontario had previously partnered with interRAI to develop and implement the Resident Assessment Instrument for Mental Health (RAI-MH), the assessment system mandated for use on all persons admitted into inpatient psychiatric care in the province. Core items on the interRAI BMHS were obtained through analysis (N=41,019) of RAI-MH data together with input from representatives from health care, police services, and patient groups. Two police services in southwestern Ontario completed forms (N=235) on persons thought to have a mental disorder. Patient records were later accessed to determine patient disposition. The use of summary and inferential statistics revealed that the variables significantly associated with being taken to hospital by police included performing a self-injurious act in the past 30days, and others being concerned over the person’s risk for self-injury. Variables significantly associated with being admitted included abnormal thought process, delusions, and hallucinations. The results of the study indicate that the 14-variable algorithm used to construct the interRAI BMHS is a good predictor of who was most likely to be taken to hospital by police officers and who was most likely to be admitted. The instrument is an effective means of capturing and standardizing police officer observations enabling them to provide more and better quality information to emergency department (ED) staff. Teaching police officers to use the form constitutes enhanced training on major indicators of serious mental disorders. Further, given that items on the interRAI BMHS are written in the language of the health system, language acts as common currency between police officers and ED staff laying the foundation for a more collaborative approach between the systems.

Concepts: Psychology, Medicine, Mental health, Mental disorder, Abnormal psychology, Schizophrenia, Psychiatry, Police

80

The New York Police Department (NYPD) under Operation Impact deployed extra police officers to high crime areas designated as impact zones. Officers were encouraged to conduct investigative stops in these areas. City officials credited the program as one of the leading causes of New York City’s low crime rate. We tested the effects of Operation Impact on reported crimes and arrests from 2004 to 2012 using a difference-in-differences approach. We used Poisson regression models to compare differences in crime and arrest counts before and after census block groups were designated as impact zones compared to census block groups in the same NYPD precincts but outside impact zones. Impact zones were significantly associated with reductions in total reported crimes, assaults, burglaries, drug violations, misdemeanor crimes, felony property crimes, robberies, and felony violent crimes. Impact zones were significantly associated with increases in total reported arrests, arrests for burglary, arrests for weapons, arrests for misdemeanor crimes, and arrests for property felony crimes. Impact zones were also significantly associated with increases in investigative stops for suspected crimes, but only the increase in stops made based on probable cause indicators of criminal behaviors were associated with crime reductions. The largest increase in investigative stops in impact zones was based on indicators of suspicious behavior that had no measurable effect on crime. The findings suggest that saturating high crime blocks with police helped reduce crime in New York City, but that the bulk of the investigative stops did not play an important role in the crime reductions. The findings indicate that crime reduction can be achieved with more focused investigative stops.

Concepts: Crime, Criminal law, New York City, Police, Felony, Assault, Theft, Misdemeanor

58

There is a notable shift toward more repression and criminalization in sex work policies, in Europe and elsewhere. So-called neo-abolitionism reduces sex work to trafficking, with increased policing and persecution as a result. Punitive “demand reduction” strategies are progressively more popular. These developments call for a review of what we know about the effects of punishing and repressive regimes vis-à-vis sex work. From the evidence presented, sex work repression and criminalization are branded as “waterbed politics” that push and shove sex workers around with an overload of controls and regulations that in the end only make things worse. It is illustrated how criminalization and repression make it less likely that commercial sex is worker-controlled, non-abusive, and non-exploitative. Criminalization is seriously at odds with human rights and public health principles. It is concluded that sex work criminalization is barking up the wrong tree because it is fighting sex instead of crime and it is not offering any solution for the structural conditions that sex work (its ugly sides included) is rooted in. Sex work repression travels a dead-end street and holds no promises whatsoever for a better future. To fight poverty and gendered inequalities, the criminal justice system simply is not the right instrument. The reasons for the persistent stigma on sex work as well as for its present revival are considered.

Concepts: Law, Human rights, Crime, Criminal law, Prostitution, Criminal justice, Police, Rights