Cops have a basic responsibility to enter and defuse potentially violent situations. Most of the time, the police avoid using fatal force in these circumstances, but police may kill the suspect (or innocent bystanders) in rare instances.
These incidents often arouse public outrage, especially when the police seem to be at fault, and are closely examined to assess police operations and training safety and efficiency.
- The following countries have the highest yearly number of police killings:
- Philippines — 6,069+ (avg 2016-2021)
- Brazil — 5,804 (2019)
- Venezuela — 5,287 (2018)
- India — 1,731 (2019)
- Syria — 1,497 (2019)
- El Salvador — 1087 (2017)
- United States — 946 (2020)
- Nigeria — 841 (2018)
- Afghanistan — 606 (2018)
- Pakistan — 495 (2017)
Police shootings in the United States
In the United States, where the number of police shootings is the greatest of any developed nation (every other country in the top ten is a developing country), and where private gun ownership is the highest in the world, police shootings are a source of tremendous worry and debate.
Since the killings of 17-year-old Tamir Rice and emergency medical worker Breonna Taylor by plainclothes detectives who may have failed to identify themselves as police before breaking down her door have triggered massive protests and concerns about racial inequality in the U.S. justice system, the sheer number of police shooting incidents has fueled public outrage.
The Washington Post police shootings database, which has tracked police shootings in the United States since 2015, bolsters racial concerns. Nearly 1,000 individuals were murdered annually by American police between 2015 and 2019.
There was just 13 percent of the overall U.S. population of African Americans, while 24 percent of the victims of police shootings were African Americans.
Whites make up around 60% of the population, although they account for just 46% of the fatalities caused by police shootings in the United States.
While the murder rate for white males is lower than for black men, eight of the 100 biggest police agencies in the United States are killing black men at a greater rate than the national murder rate.
In certain areas, the danger of police violence is greater than in others—six times as police murder many black people in Oklahoma as in Georgia.
It’s not clear why the number of police shootings in the United States is so high or so racially disparate.
There are still a lot of police shootings in this country, but when compared to its population as a whole, it’s notable how low the U.S. ranks in terms of the overall number of shootings.
Comparing police killings per 10 million people, the United States comes in 33rd. There has been an improvement in this area.
However, it’s still more than twice as many deaths per 10 million residents as in the next highest developed country (Luxembourg, whose population is so small that a single killing gave in a 16.9 score) and nearly three times as many deaths per 10 million residents as in Canada (9.7).
The following countries have the highest per-capita rate of police killings:
- Venezuela — 1829.9 (2018)
- El Salvador — 1703.8 (2017)
- Syria — 819 (2019)
- Philippines — 556.5 (2016-21 avg)
- Nicaragua — 522.7 (2018)
- Jamaica — 472.7 (2018)
- Trinidad and Tobago — 339.7 (2014)
- Brazil — 276.2 (2019)
- Bahamas — 275.7 (2018)
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines — 181.8 (2018)
Most and least police-involved killings per year by country
The number of police murders in Brazil is roughly six times more than in the United States, making it the country with the greatest total. Rio de Janeiro, the country’s most violent state, has the largest number of police murders controlled by drug trafficking gangs.
According to officials, the majority of the police killing victims were armed when they were killed.
On the other hand, the death toll from police violence is quite low in many nations. Some European nations, for example, have almost no police killings. No police killings have been recorded in Denmark, Iceland, or Switzerland. All three nations are among the world’s safest, which may surprise.
According to reports, this may explain why just one similar incident involving a police shooting a citizen has occurred in Iceland’s history. In addition, Hong Kong, Luxembourg, Malta, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, and Saint Lucia all have one police killing every year on average.
As well as being among the world’s safest nations, Portugal and New Zealand are also in the top 10.
List of 10 nations with the highest number of police deaths:
- Venezuela (1829.90)
- El Salvador (1703.80)
- Syria (819.00)
- Philippines (556.50)
- Nicaragua (522.70)
- Jamaica (472.70)
- Trinidad And Tobago (339.70)
- Brazil (276.20)
- Bahamas (275.70)
- Saint Vincent And The Grenadines (181.80)
|Country||Police Killings||Data Year(s)||Rate Per 10M||2022 Population||Notes|
|Philippines||6069.1000||2016.2100||556.5000||112508.9940||Includes only deaths during anti-drug operations. Totals would be higher if deaths from other police actions were included.|
|India||1731||2019||12.5400||1406631.7760||Includes 1,606 deaths listed as occurring in "judicial custody||but not due to police, military, or intelligence agency activity.|
|Syria||1497||2019||819||19364.8090||Note: Syria is involved in a civil war|
|Nicaragua||325.1000||2018||522.7000||6779.1000||Low estimate. Actual total may be as high as 535|
|Iran||304.1000||2019||36.6000||86022.8370||Low estimate. Actual total is likely higher|
|Angola||100.1000||2016||34.7000||35027.3430||Data covers capital city only.|
|Trinidad and Tobago||46||2014||339.7000||1406.5850|
|Central African Republic||30.1000||2015.1600||64.4000||5016.6780||Includes 18 documented executions|
|Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||2||2018||181.8000||111.5510|
|Iceland||0||2016||0||345.3930||Iceland has had only one police killing in its history, which took place in 2013|
Also See: Safest Countries in Africa 2022