Armed with Technology: The Impact on Fatal Shootings by the Police
49 Pages Posted: 13 Jul 2016 Last revised: 16 Dec 2016
Date Written: September 8, 2016
Deaths of civilians by the police in recent years have led to protests and disruptions in several cities, such as New York and Chicago. In this study, we investigate how the use of technology by the police affects deadly shootings of civilians. Drawing upon the criminology literature, we propose a simple, stylized model on a police officer’s decision-making to shoot to explain how technology use for intelligence analyses and evidence gathering affects the use of lethal force. Our empirical analyses revealed both encouraging and surprising findings. We found that both the use of smartphones and the statistical analyses of crime data are associated with a decrease in deadly shootings. In contrast, the use of wearable body cameras is related to an increase in fatal shootings by the police. We also found that the effect of technology use is more pronounced for armed suspects and among males, the youth, and minorities.
Keywords: Fatal Shootings, Use of Force, Intelligence, Wearable Body Cameras, Police, Signal Detection Theory
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