August 1, 2016 (San Diego) Over the last course of last month, there were nine officers killed in the line of duty nationwide. One of those officers fell in the line of duty here in San Diego. 3 in Batton Rouge Lousianna and 5 in Dallas Texas. Coverage of these events has been intense, so none of us would blame you for thinking that things have gotten worst for officers country wide.
So what are the numbers? When you hear statistics why are they going up so dramatically? Well according to the Washington Post Wonk Blog that took a look at the Officers Down Memorial Page, here is the scoop.
During the Reagan years, for instance, an average of 101 police officers were intentionally killed each year. Under George H.W. Bush that number fell to 90. It fell further, to 81 deaths per year, under Bill Clinton, and to 72 deaths per year under George W. Bush.
The narrative that some politicians have pushed is that the Black Lives Matter movement has created an environment of hate for the police an that there is a war on officers. Yet, average line of duty deaths are down, even from the previous administration.
Yes, we know that total numbers has shot up 44 percent, but as the Wonk blog notes, and we have noticed this as well, line of duty deaths are low enough that even a spike of five deaths in a year will produce very large pencentage spikes.
Assaults on officers have gone down from 15.9 per 100 during the Reagan administration to 9 per 100 during the present administration. Like crime, assaults on officers topped off in 1992. These are national statistics that the Department of Justice keeps. They can be tracked, and the Federal Bureau of Invenstigation does this regularly. This is the latest data at the FBI.
Chief Shelley Zimmernam stated the other day that assaults on San Diego Officers are up by 78 percent. We asked for that very specific data. We suspect that data is also very sensitive for the same reason that the national data is and that is the reality of actual low assault numbers. We have yet to receive that data from the department.
The problem is that right now we have competing narratives, and they are political narratives. Law and order is always a political matter. And when numbers are thankfully so low, even the smallest of increases will lead to large percentage changes. We hope the overall trend will continue to go down, but we should look at the reasons why we are having tension in the streets.