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NCJ Number: 64154 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: MEASURING HOMICIDE BY POLICE OFFICERS
Journal: JOURNAL OF CRIMINAL LAW AND CRIMINOLOGY  Volume:70  Issue:4  Dated:(WINTER 1979)  Pages:546-560
Author(s): L W SHERMAN; R H LANGWORTHY
Corporate Author: Northwestern University
School of Law
Managing Editor
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 15
Sponsoring Agency: Institute for Scientific Information
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Northwestern University
Chicago, IL 60611
US Dept of Health, Education, and Welfare
Washington, DC 20203
Williams and Wilkins Co
Baltimore, MD 21202
Grant Number: IR01MH31335-01CD
Sale Source: Williams and Wilkins Co
428 East Preston Street
Baltimore, MD 21202
United States of America

Institute for Scientific Information
University City Science Ctr
3501 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THIS ANALYSIS PROVIDES TENTATIVE ANSWERS TO THREE CENTRAL QUESTIONS ABOUT THE ADEQUACY OF CURRENT MEASUREMENT OF HOMICIDE COMMITTED BY POLICE OFFICERS IN THE U.S.
Abstract: FIRST, IT SUGGESTS THAT THE NATIONAL INCIDENCE OF POLICE HOMICIDE IS SUBSTANTIALLY UNDERREPORTED, POSSIBLY BY AROUND 50 PERCENT, AND THAT THE POLICE MAY ACCOUNT FOR CLOSER TO 3.6 PERCENT OF ALL HOMICIDES RATHER THAN THE 1.8 PERCENT REFLECTED IN POLICE INTERNAL RECORDS, DEATH CERTIFICATES, AND NEWSPAPER STORIES. THE DATA FOUND IN THESE SOURCES SUFFER FROM A VARIETY OF ILLS, INCLUDING MECHANICAL AND CONCEPTUAL ERRORS INTRODUCED IN THE TRANSMISSION AND CODING OF DATA, FREQUENT POOR QUALITY OF THE MEDICAL DIAGNOSES OF DEATH CAUSES, AND CORONERS' LACK OF AWARENESS OF OR SUPPORT FOR THE LEGAL OBLIGATION TO SUPPLY NECESSARY INFORMATION TO CODE THE CAUSES OF DEATH ACCORDING TO INTERNATIONAL CLASSIFICATION OF DISEASES (ICD) CATEGORIES. MOREOVER, ICD CLASSIFICATION INSTRUCTIONS ARE VAGUE, CORONERS' PROCEDURES ARE DIVERGENT, AND CORONERS' RELATIONSHIPS WITH POLICE CAN INTERFERE WITH ACCURATE REPORTING. OTHER COMPLICATING FACTORS ARE (1) POLICE HESITANCY TO ALLOW EXTERNAL EXAMINATION OF STATISTICS ON POLICE USE OF DEADLY FORCE BECAUSE THEY CONSIDER SUCH INFORMATION TO BE FOR INTERNAL USE ONLY, (2) OF THESE DATA FROM THOSE GATHERED FROM OTHER SOURCES, AND (3) THE COST FACTORS INVOLVED IN GATHERING DATA FROM POLICE DEPARTMENTS NATIONWIDE. NEWSPAPER REPORTS ARE EVEN LESS RELIABLE SINCE POLICY VARIES ON THE NEWSWORTHINESS OF HOMICIDE. VITAL STATISTICS COMPILED BY THE NATIONAL CENTER FOR HEALTH STATISTICS ARE NOT CONSISTENT WITH ALTERNATE DATA FROM SOURCES LIKE POLICE RECORDS. HOWEVER, THE VITAL STATISTICS ARE USABLE IN CORRELATION WITH ALTERNATE DATA SOURCES WITH THEORETICALLY RELEVANT INDEPENDENT VARIABLES. AN ANALYSIS MATCHING BOTH THE YEAR AND CITY FOR A NONRANDOM CONVENIENCE SAMPLE OF 13 NEW YORK STATE JURISDICTIONS INDICATED RELATIVELY GOOD AGREEMENT BETWEEN VITAL STATISTICS DATA AND ALTERNATE DATA ON POLICE HOMICIDE RATES FOR THE FOR THE PERIOD 1967-1976. RECOMMENDATIONS ARE MADE FOR CONTINUED RESEARCH IN THIS AREA AND FOR REVISING PROCEDURES IN COMPILING MORTALITY STATISTICS. STUDY DATA AND REFERENCES ARE INCLUDED. (AUTHOR ABSTRACT MODIFIED--DAG)
Index Term(s): Data collections; Data integrity; Homicide; Police statistics; Police use of deadly force; Violent crime statistics
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=64154

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