BACKGROUND: The pattern of law-enforcement related injuries of police and civilians in the US is unknown. METHODS: Data were aggregated from the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), the Bureau of Justice (BOJ) Statistics, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS), and the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) from 2003-2011. Law-enforcement related injuries in the CDC WISQARS and the NIS were identified using E codes 970-976, which are meant to identify “injuries inflicted by the police or other law-enforcing agents, including military on duty, in the course of arresting or attempting to arrest lawbreakers, suppressing disturbances, maintaining order, and other legal action”. RESULTS: The CDC reported a total of 715,118 non-fatal injuries and 3,156 fatal injuries from 2003 to 2011. In contrast, for the same time period, the NIS identified a total of 3,958 patients, ranging from 348 to 572 per year. Among the injured, 1,548 (48.0%) were whites, 866 were blacks (26.8%), and 605 were Hispanics (18.8%); and 1,011 patients (25.5%) were injured by firearms, while 2,304 (58.2%) suffered from blows or manhandling. Firearm-injured hospitalized patients are more likely to be males, blacks or Hispanics, and in the 18-39 age group. CONCLUSIONS: The majority of law-enforcement related injuries are among white or black young men. Hispanic patients are more likely to be injured by a firearm than struck. When categorized by firearm, white and black patients are more likely to die than Hispanic patients. Unfortunately, data about these injuries are scattered across multiple data systems. A uniform national system to aggregate these data sources is needed to better understand the scope of the problem, for both law enforcement personnel and civilians.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine