St. Peters, MO, (Law Firm Newswire) November 17, 2015 - The FBI will begin collecting and making public more information about police shootings involving civilians, according to FBI Director James Comey. The agency released its annual data on crime in the United States on Sept. 28.
Once the FBI gathers the data, it will release a special report on police use of force in the line of duty, which has been the subject of public debate. According to Comey, the publication will “outline facts about what happened, who was involved, the nature of injuries or deaths, and the circumstances behind these incidents.” He has previously expressed frustration about the lack of nationwide data on police shootings after the Ferguson, Missouri, shooting of Michael Brown in August last year.
“Addressing the lack of information is an important step in determining the scope of police shootings in the country. Analyzing the data will help promote transparency regarding the way law enforcement personnel interact with the communities they serve,” said Charles James, a prominent criminal defense attorney in St. Peters, Missouri.
Comey encouraged every police department to submit its crime statistics to the National Incident-Based Reporting System to give the public a more complete picture about the circumstances surrounding a crime. Since it is not mandatory for law enforcement agencies to enter data into the FBI’s system, current records remain incomplete. Only about one third of local departments are using the database.
The latest figures from the FBI’s annual report show a 0.2 percent decrease in the number of violent crimes reported by law enforcement last year in comparison to 2013. Around 1.16 million violent crimes such as robberies, rapes and murders were reported in 2013 in comparison to 1.39 million in 2005.
“After seeing a decline in crime rates over the years, this year we are seeing an increase in murders and shootings in some big cities and major metropolitan areas. This raises questions about what is causing the shift in crime rates and what are the circumstances of the fatalities,” said James.
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