Crime: Prevention

Overall ratio of population and police officers nationwide.
Overall ratio of population and police officers nationwide.  

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Police Force Ratio Holds Steady
Published Thursday, June 18th, 2009

Population security is impacted by the ratio of police proportional to the size of the population being protected or controlled, a concept called population-driven force ratios. For populations such as ones in the US, the proportion of police officers required for day-to-day law enforcement duties among generally peaceful populations comes to a force ratio ranging from one to four police officers per 1000 residents. With greater emphasis on life saving equipment and new training techniques that result in fewer shootouts, plus specialized squads to defuse threatening situations, less of both populations are killed per year than 20 years ago.

Currently on average the ratio of police to population in the US comes to about 2.3 officers per thousand residents; larger cities have higher ratios. That force ratio has remained steady for nearly three decades at around 2.21-2.34 police officers per 1000 civilian population. The number of officers killed in the line of duty has reduced by over three times that of the early 1970s. Presently, the number of fallen has reduced further from 70 in 2001 to 41 in 2008. The 72 deaths that resulted from the events of September 11, 2001 are not included in the totals.  So far this year, there have been 20 gun related deaths for the police nationwide.

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U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics: Police Population -
Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS), conducted every 3 to 4 years, collects data from over 3,000 State and local law enforcement agencies, including all those that employ 100 or more sworn officers and a nationally representative sample of smaller agencies.

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