Document Detail

Underreporting of justifiable homicides committed by police officers in the United States, 1976-1998.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  12835195     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
OBJECTIVES: This study assessed the consistency of estimates of the number of justifiable homicides committed by US police officers and identified sources of underreporting.
METHODS: The number of justifiable homicides committed by police officers between 1976 and 1998 was estimated from supplementary homicide report (SHR) and National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) mortality data.
RESULTS: Nationally, the SHR estimate was 29% larger than the NVSS estimate. However, in most states this pattern was reversed, with more deaths reported in the NVSS.
CONCLUSIONS: Both systems underreport, but for different reasons. The NVSS misclassifies cases as homicides, rather than justifiable homicides committed by police officers, because certifiers fail to mention police involvement. The SHR misses cases because some jurisdictions fail to file reports or omit justifiable homicides committed by police officers.
Colin Loftin; Brian Wiersema; David McDowall; Adam Dobrin
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  American journal of public health     Volume:  93     ISSN:  0090-0036     ISO Abbreviation:  Am J Public Health     Publication Date:  2003 Jul 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2003-07-01     Completed Date:  2003-08-06     Revised Date:  2013-06-09    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  1254074     Medline TA:  Am J Public Health     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1117-21     Citation Subset:  AIM; IM    
Violence Research Group, School of Criminal Justice, University at Albany, State University of New York, 12222, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Death Certificates / legislation & jurisprudence*
Homicide / classification*,  ethnology,  statistics & numerical data*
Law Enforcement / methods*
Mandatory Reporting*
Middle Aged
Police / statistics & numerical data*
Population Surveillance
Public Health
Social Control, Formal
Social Perception
United States / epidemiology
Vital Statistics

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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