In the chart above, you can see just how alarming American statistics on fatal police shootings are when compared to other Western countries.
The FBI reports that in 2011, cops in America killed 404 suspects in acts of “justifiable homicide.” Astonishingly, though, as FiveThirtyEight reports, this number likely doesn’t include every civilian fatality that year since it relies on voluntary reporting and doesn’t include police homicides that aren’t justifiable.
Last year, police in England did not record a single shooting fatality, with officers across the country only firing weapons on three occasions.
Cops on the street in England do not carry firearms.
In Australia, where police do carry handguns, gun control is relatively tight. Police in some states receive special training for dealing with mentally ill suspects.
There are some theories about why cops in America kill more people. Ladd Everitt from the Washington-based advocacy organisation, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, told Business Insider, “We see this as a product of the continuing arms race between law enforcement and civilians that has been going on for decades.”
Everitt said the increasingly sophisticated weaponry being sold to U.S. civilians is forcing police to keep up, with both sides purchasing ever more powerful weapons.
The arms race means “police officers have legitimate fears about the nature of the firepower they are confronting on a daily basis,” he said.
The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence told us they thought it would take “courageous politicians with the decency and courage to stand up to the National Rifle Association” to end the high number of deaths.
Business Insider contacted the NRA for comment but did not receive an immediate response.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.