Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Interesting Data

It seems that there is a study out by the Temple University that shows a correlation between police/citizen fatalities and the use of police body cameras.  Courtesy of Zero Hedge:
Surprisingly, we found that the use of wearable video cameras is associated with a 3.64% increase in shooting-deaths of civilians by the police. We explain that video recordings collected during a violent encounter with a civilian can be used in favor of a police officer as evidence that justifies the shooting. Aware of this evidence, the officer may become less reluctant to engage in the use of deadly force. We conducted more in-depth analyses with incident circumstances (e.g. whether a subject was armed) and demographics of victims (e.g. race, age), and we obtained more intriguing findings. Notably, the above-mentioned effect of technology use on fatal shootings is more pronounced for (a) African American or Hispanic victims than Whites or Asians and (b) for armed suspects than unarmed civilians.
 While this certainly merits further study, it seems to suggest that an officer will be less hesitant to use deadly force if he's certain that he's carrying evidence (the body camera) that will support his use of force.

Tip of the hat to Joe Huffman.


Joe Mama said...

Is a 3% difference statistically significant or is it within the range one might expect due to random "noise".

Also, communities often enhance their police with body cameras when tensions start to run high. Correlation is not the same as causality. One scenario would have the addition of body cameras being a response to a shared, underlying cause.

News outlets have to sell ad space. I would not get very excited unless the study were "randomized" and the number was more than 15% over a period of years.

Lauren Ventosa said...

I agree with the comment above. 3% seems like it could be insignificant enough depending on the size of the pool of data. If it is true, that'd be extremely surprising and I'd be fascinated by the psychology behind it.