Mapping Police Violence collected data on more than 1,200 killings by police in 2023. We compiled this information from media reports, obituaries, public records, and databases like The Gun Violence Archive and the Washington Post. As such, this report represents the most comprehensive public accounting of deadly police violence in 2023. Our analysis suggests a substantial proportion of all killings by police in 2023 could have been prevented and that specific policies and practices might prevent police killings in the future.
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At least people were killed by police in 2023.
More people were killed by police in 2023 than any other year in the past decade.
New Mexico had the highest rate of killings by police of any state in 2023. Over the past decade, New Mexico has consistently had one of the highest rates of police violence in the nation.
of people killed by police in 2023 were killed by police shootings. Tasers, physical force, and police vehicles accounted for most other deaths.
Officers were charged with a crime in only of these cases. One percent of all killings by police.
Each year, fewer than 3% of killings by police result in officers being charged with a crime. Officers are disproportionately prosecuted by Black prosecutors — especially Black women. Representing only 1% of the nation’s elected prosecutors, Black women were 8% of prosecutors who charged officers for killing someone, 11% of prosecutors convicting officers and 17% of prosecutors charging officers in two or more deadly force incidents from 2013-2023.
We were able to identify officers in cases. At least had shot or killed someone before.
Most killings began with police responding to suspected non-violent offenses or cases where no crime was reported. people were killed after police stopped them for a traffic violation.
In 2023, the Investing in Safer Traffic Stops Act was introduced in Congress. The bill would create a $100 million fund to invest in non-police alternatives to traffic enforcement, like hiring civilians or using automated traffic enforcement technology instead.
While promising, efforts to implement automated enforcement systems can present their own challenges. For example, research on automated traffic enforcement in Washington, DC found that drivers in predominantly Black communities were significantly more likely to be fined for moving violations than drivers in white communities despite not experiencing a greater number of crashes. As such, automation could increase racial disparities in traffic enforcement unless these programs are implemented with an “affirmative effort to equitably site automated traffic cameras.”
people were killed after police responded to reports of someone behaving erratically or having a mental health crisis.
The State of California began implementing the CRISES Act in 2023, beginning to fund and scale up community-based alternative responses to mental health crises. The law prioritizes funding for communities with the highest rates of police violence and misconduct in the state, protecting residents from violent police responses to mental health crises.
people killed by police were unarmed.
Most unarmed people killed by police were people of color.
Black people were more likely to be killed by police, more likely to be unarmed and less likely to be threatening someone when killed.
Police disproportionately kill Black people, year after year.
people killed by police had a vehicle as a weapon.
of these people were killed when police shot at a moving vehicle, a practice many experts say should be banned.
Experts, law enforcement groups, and the US Department of Justice recommend that police be banned from shooting at people in moving vehicles. These shootings are particularly ineffective and dangerous, since shooting the driver can make the vehicle an uncontrollable threat to both officers and the public.
Despite this, most police departments continue to allow officers to shoot people in these situations.
people killed by police were allegedly armed with a knife.
In many countries, police routinely disarm people who have knives without shooting them.
In the United Kingdom, a country of 67 million people where police encounter knife attacks at a similar rate as US police, police fatally shot zero people with knives in 2023. In Los Angeles County, with a population of 10 million, law enforcement officers fatally shot 15 people allegedly armed with knives in 2023.
Half of those killed by police were reportedly armed with a gun.
But 1 in 6 people with a gun were not threatening anyone when they were killed. They might have been de-escalated instead.
% of killings by police in 2023 — deaths — were traffic stops, police responses to mental health crises, or situations where the person was not reportedly threatening anyone with a gun. Creating alternatives responses to these situations could substantially reduce this violence nationwide.
Which would mean substantially fewer people killed by police in almost every city.
The 2023 Police Violence Report was built by Mapping Police Violence Inc, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
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