Hundreds of homicides committed by law-enforcement officers between 2007 and 2012 were not recorded in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, national statistics show.
More than 550 homicides committed by police during that period were missing, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Local police departments are not required to participate in the FBI’s uniform crime reporting program, which makes accurately tracking the number of police abuses almost impossible.
Some agencies tend to not report the killings, Bureau of Justice statistician Alexia Cooper said. Nearly 800 agencies reported about 2,400 killings by police, while more than 18,000 other departments did not report any.
Some entities in the reports said they did not view ‘justifiable homicides’ by law-enforcement officers as something that should be reported. Some agencies did not consider the events to be actual offenses.
In certain cases, if an officer killed someone in a city or town out of its jurisdiction believed that particular town would handle the report, by they had not done so.
In recent years, police have tried to rely on the data to develop better tactics in policing.
A particular alarming report came as recently in Washington D.C.
Police in Washington did not report any details about any homicides to the FBI for an entire decade starting in 1998; the same year the Washington Post revealed the city had one of the highest officer-involved killings in the country.
The city reported five killings by police in 2011, but zero in the following year after 24-year-old Albert Payton was killed by police while wielding a knife.