Cop-involved shootings steady, statistics show

By Chuck Bennett
NewYork Staff Writer

NEW YORK, Dec. 8, 2006--Police shootings are not on the rise this year, despite perceptions following the fatal shooting of Sean Bell last month and two other police-involved incidents this week. However, the number of fatal police-involved shootings is up this year.

The actual number of cop shootings is about the same as it was

Police were involved in 115 shootings this year as of Thursday.

"The number of fatal police shootings last year reached the lowest point, 9, compared to 54 in 1973. While it's up this year, these are still historic lows," said NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne. "The perception does not reflect the reality. "

In the shootouts, 31 people were actually hit by the police bullets

Last year, 34 people were shot and nine killed by police.

The number of shootings is in a dramatic drop since the crack war days of the 1980s and 1990s. There were 435 police-involved shootings

Independent observers agreed.

"When you consider there are 35,000 armed officers its really not statistically significant," said Maki Haberfeld, chairwoman of John Jay College's Law, Police Science and Criminal Justice Administration department of the latest figures. "There's a sudden perception that cops are running around shooting citizens "

By comparison, the 2,100-officer Las Vegas Police Department killed 12 people so far this year and 19 people were killed by the 6,600-officer Philadelphia Police Department, according to data compiled by the

"Despite the raw emotion and scrutiny that [the Sean Bell shooting] has generated New York City police officers are among the most restrained in the use of deadly physical force in the nation. That has been true for years and remains true today and is only supported by the fact that the five officers involved never fired their weapons on the job before," said Pat Lynch, president

Police payments to citizens as a result of lawsuits, including non-shooting related claims, is also on the decline, according to figures from the Independent Budget Office. Police paid out $22.4 million for claims in fiscal year 2006, which ended June 30. In fiscal year 2005 police paid $34.4 million and in 2004 it

There is generally a four-and-a-half year lag between the time a case is filed and a settlement is made.