Quantifying underreporting of law-enforcement-related deaths in United States vital statistics and news-media-based data sources: A capture–recapture analysis

By Justin M. Feldman, Sofia Gruskin, Brent A. Coull, and Nancy Krieger


October 10, 2017

This study responds to the terribly unreliable and inadequate data on law-enforcement deaths as estimated based on data from the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) by creating “a new US-wide dataset by matching cases reported in a nongovernmental, news-media-based dataset produced by the newspaper The Guardian.” The authors hypothesize that:

underreporting by the NVSS would exceed that by the news media sources, and that underreporting rates would be higher for decedents of color versus white, decedents in lower versus higher income counties, decedents killed by non-firearm (e.g., Taser) versus firearm mechanisms, and deaths recorded by a medical examiner versus coroner.

The authors found support for this hypothesis.

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