Dataset: Officer Involved Shootings in US Cities 2005-2016
Authors: Alexander C. Cartwright and Jennifer Dirmeyer
Suggested Citation: “Officer Involved Shooting in US Cities, 2005-2016.” Alexander C. Cartwright and Jennifer Dirmeyer. Released 5/1/2019. Updated 7/1/2019
OIS Officer Involved Shootings are defined as incidents wherein a sworn police officer or officers shot a firearm at a person intentionally. OIS are counted per incident so that if multiple officers or multiple citizens are involved in a single incident it is only counted once. Accidental discharge and shots fired at animals are not counted. “Warning shots” or shots fired into the air are counted. Shots fired at vehicles are counted.
Population City Population is drawn from the American Community Survey 1 Year estimates.
PoliceSize Police Size is defined as the total number of sworn officers employed by the police department during the specified year. This data is drawn from the FBI Uniform Crime Reports.
Data Collection Methodology:
All data used in this report was either published publicly or provided directly from city police departments. In cases where data on officer involved shootings (OIS) was not publicly available (or was not available for the previous 10 years), departments were sent a request to provide the data consistent with their respective state public information disclosure laws. In states that limit information requests to state residents, volunteers were located to make the information request on our behalf. When cities did not have a searchable database and requested funds to manually compile the data, they were compensated up to $300.00
The 300 most populous American cities were sent requests for data. Cities not included in the report have either yet to respond to our request for data, are processing our request, have rejected our request, or requested more than $300 to complete the request.
All OIS reported to us have been reviewed to ensure the measure is uniform across cities. In cases where a city did not explain what constituted an OIS, a follow-up –and sometimes new FOIA– request was sent requesting clarification.
It is our goal to provide the most complete dataset on Officer Involved Shootings in US cities that we are able. To that end, we update this dataset regularly as new data are released or discovered.
This project is generously supported by the Charles Koch Foundation.