Fox News and GOP candidates, in full campaign fever, have ratcheted up rhetoric claiming that there’s a “war on cops” and that President Obama and Black Lives Matter are to blame. They claim Obama refuses to support police (that’s a lie) and that Black Lives Matter has called for cops to be murdered (that’s also a lie).
The numbers tell quite a different story, not that facts are going to get in the way of Republicans falling over themselves to blame Democrats and minorities for every bad thing that’s happened in the history of humankind.
Radley Balko, in the Washington Post, does a much better job than I can explaining the true situation.
So far, 2015 is on pace to see 35 felonious killings of police officers. If that pace holds, this year would end with the second lowest number of murdered cops in decades. Here’s a graph depicting annual killings of cops with firearms from Mark A. Perry at the American Enterprise Institute:
But these are just the raw numbers. If we look at the rate of killings of cops, the trend is more pronounced. There are two ways examine the rate of police killings. The first is to look at the rate of killings of cops per 100K cops on the street. This figure is somewhat difficult to calculate because there are widely varying estimates of how many cops are on the street. It depends on how you define “police officer,” who is doing the estimating, and various other factors. But if you use consistent sources, the number of police has generally gone up, while the number of officers killed has generally gone down. So your graph looks something like this one, from Dan Wang: