Sunday, November 6, 2022

Stats related to U.S. Law Enforcement Deaths Throughout History: A 7 Question Trivia Challenge

Photo by Matt Popovich on Unsplash
This afternoon I got to wondering how police officers have been killed in the line of duty the past couple years compared to previous decades. I Googled it and was surprised to find a chart that lists the number of law enforcement people killed per year since the founding of our Republic. There are some very interesting insights one can gain by looking at these numbers. 

I love turning things into a game. Here's a seven question Trivia contest. Let's see how you do. 

1. On average, how many officers were killed per year from 1786 to 1806?

2. On average, how many police officers were killed per year in the 1850s, the years leading up to the Civil War?

3. In the 19th century, what year had the most officers killed and how many?

4. What was the first year that more than 200 officers were killed on duty?

5. What was the first year that more than 300 officers were killed?

6. On average, how many officers were killed on the job per year in the 1960s?

7.  What was the first year that more than 400 officers were killed?

* * * * *
The purpose of this photo below is to place the answers
a little further away from the quiz.

Photo by LOGAN WEAVER | @LGNWVR on Unsplash


1.  One
2.  9.3
3.  1898 -- 82
4.  1919.   221 died. The Volstead Act was passed in October 1919, enacted January 1920.
5.  1930. Prohibition did not end till 1933.
6.  160 per year. As troubled as it was -- Civil Rights movement, anti-war movement, SDS, Weather Underground -- the number of officer deaths was significantly less than the 1920s, which saw an average of 270 officers killed per year.

To see the full list of fatalities every year, click here.

To share any insights you might have based on this on this data,
leave a comment. What surprised you most? Least?


Diva said...

The Volstead Act isn't surprising. I'm sad to say that I guessed #7 correctly. I would also assume that #1 was so low due to the population at the time and the amount of police needed was a lot lower. I hope that the day comes sooner than later when more people can have reason to respect police officers again and realize not all are cut from the same cloth.

Ed Newman said...

Thanks for the comment. A certain portion of the animosity to the men in blue may be prompted by the media, though admittedly there can be "bad apples" in any line of work. Unions make it harder to weed out bad apples, whether it be teachers, police officers or other union associations.
Yes, #1 was partly due to that, and maybe in part due to other factors. Maybe my short essay on "The Real Reason They Hang Horse Thieves" ( touches on that... though I don't have any experience with how law enforcement really was in the early years of our Republic.

LEWagner said...

Here's another site, "Officer Down Memorial Page". This site gives the number 649 "Line of Duty Deaths" in 2021, almost 200 more than the source that you listed.

When they say "Killed on Duty", they leave a misleading impression that the deceased were all murdered on duty.
Not so. The biggest listed cause of death was "Covid 19" (467 out of the 649). Strange that they'd be on duty, if they had Covid 19, but maybe. I hope they were wearing masks.
Also high on the list was "automobile crash", (with no description of the circumstances or fault of the crash).

"Honoring Officers Killed in 2021
Total Line of Duty Deaths: 649
9/11 related illness
Automobile crash
Duty related illness
Gunfire (Inadvertent)
Heart attack
Motorcycle crash
Struck by vehicle
Training accident
Vehicle pursuit
Vehicular assault
Weather/Natural disaster

On a related subject, here is a site that tells how many Americans were killed BY police, year by year.
"More people were killed by police in 2021 than almost any other year in recent history."
None of these people were killed by covid 19, or by car accidents, they were killed BY police.

2021 1140
2020 1133
2019 1096
2018 1145
2017 1092
2016 1070
2015 1103
2014 1049
2013 1087

Regarding what surprises me the most and the least in the statistics presented by the police: I've been following these statistics for several years, and I know that their definition of "killed" and "in line of duty" is ridiculously broad. I can't say that it surprises me, though.

I've seen the number of full-time police officers in the USA reported at about 420,000. I wonder if there's any other group of less than half a million people in America (Muslim immigrants, for example?) who kill (on record) an average of over 1000 people per year.
Would they be called "just a few bad apples"?

Ed Newman said...

Thanks for the going the second mile in your due diligence.

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