The growing #BlackLivesMatter movement has resonated with a number of religious leaders, and critics have objected, claiming that the movement has endangered the lives of police, and resulted in an increase in police deaths.
Readers on this site joined this vocal group when they voiced displeasure with The Right Reverend C. Andrew Doyle, who released a statement on the murder of Deputy Darren Goforth, claiming that Bishop Doyle had failed to name #BlackLivesMatter as dangerous and the ideological root of an upswing in attacks against police officers.
Blogging for The Washington Post, Radley Balko investigated the actual number of attacks on police, and compared them to historical data, looking at both raw numbers and numbers adjusted for the increase in number of police. They found that the raw numbers, and the adjusted data, show that officers are in less danger now than they have been for decades.
From the article:
So when police advocates say that 2014 saw an 80+ percent increase in homicides of cops over 2013, remember a few things: First, 2013 wasn’t just an all-time low, it was an all-time low by a significant margin. Second, the 2013 figure was so low that even a small increase will look large when expressed as a percentage. Third, the figure for the following year, 2014, (51 officers killed) was essentially consistent with the average for the previous five years (50 killed), and still lower than any five-year average going back to 1960.
Balko also analyzed assaults, and found that assaults were at a historic low.
Balko wraps up his piece by questioning if the oft-repeated statement that police are facing more danger now than ever before isn’t actually causing more danger for police officers, and states that a climate of fear and panic is a dangerous one to operate in, especially for people in already high-stress work environments.
Will this information help you navigate the often tricky conversations around race, justice, and policing we’re having? Do you think it’s irresponsible or potentially dangerous for people to cultivate this type of atmosphere?