2011-11-25 / Top Stories

Annual NYPD Firearm Discharge Report

Last year, the New York City Police Department experienced the fewest firearms discharges, and shot and killed the fewest number of people since formal recording of such data began 40 years ago in 1971, according to a detailed examination of NYPD firearm discharges in a report just released.

“The improvement is due to police training, restraint, and our success in reducing crime overall,” Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said.

Police officers shot and killed eight individuals last year compared to 93 in 1971. Another 16 were shot and wounded last year, compared to 221 in 1971. This, despite the fact there were 5000 fewer officers then, or approximately 30,000 in 1971, compared to 34,700 today. Officers were armed with sixshot revolvers then, compared to 16- round capacity semiautomatic pistols today.

Highlights of the report include:

In 2010, the NYPD had the lowest number of firearms discharge incidents (92) since formal recording began in 1971. Firearms discharge incidents have decreased 13 percent since 2009, 31 percent since 2000 and 73 percent since 1995. So far this year, there have been eight individuals shot and killed by police and a total of 83 police firearms discharge incidents.

In 2010, 16 subjects were shot and injured by police officers — this is the lowest number of subjects shot and injured by police officers since formal recording began in 1971. This represents a decrease of 20 percent compared to 2009 and a decrease of 93 percent compared to 1971.

In 2010, 8 subjects were shot and killed by police officers — this is the lowest number of subjects shot and killed by police officers since formal recording began in 1971. This represents a decrease of 33 percent compared to 2009 and a decrease of 91 percent compared to 1971.

Ninety-four percent of known subjects in adversarial conflict incidents had prior arrests, 91 percent had multiple arrests, and 78 percent had previous arrests for violent crimes.

Of the eight subjects killed by police officers, seven had prior arrest histories. The one subject with no arrest history shot a police officer three times.

Of the 92 firearms discharge incidents in 2010, 33 were intentional discharges that occurred during an adversarial conflict with a suspect, 30 involved an animal attack, 21 were unintentional discharges and 8 involved the unauthorized use of a firearm.

There were no incidents of mistaken identity in which an on-duty officer shot and killed an off-duty officer in 2010, compared to one in 2009.

Intentional discharges by police officers during adversarial conflicts with subjects have declined 30 percent since 2009, 33 percent since 2008 and 48 percent since 2000.

In 2010, there was an average of 34,565 police officers in the NYPD, of whom only .15 percent (52 officers) intentionally discharged a firearm at a subject.

In 2010, two officers were shot and injured by suspects and no officers were shot and killed by suspects.

Seventy-seven percent of the officers who discharged their firearms during an adversarial conflict fired five or fewer times. Twenty-seven percent of the officers involved only fired once.

In 2010 there were a total of 368 total shots fired — an increase over 2009 — largely due to the occurrence of two protracted gun battles, compared to zero in 2009.

Shots fired include intentional and accidental discharges, shots fired at animals, shots fired from an officer’s firearm by other than a police officer, and shots fired during adversarial conflict.

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