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Armed with Technology: The Effects on Fatal Shootings of Civilians by the Police

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Abstract

Deaths of civilians by the police in recent years have led to protests and disruptions in several cities, such as New York and Chicago. In this study, we investigate how the use of technology by the police affects deadly shootings of civilians. Drawing upon the criminology literature, we propose a simple, stylized model on a police officer’s decision-making to shoot to explain how technology use for intelligence analyses and evidence gathering affects the use of lethal force. Our empirical analyses revealed both encouraging and surprising findings. We found that both the use of smartphones and the statistical analyses of crime data are associated with a decrease in deadly shootings. In contrast, the use of wearable body cameras is related to an increase in fatal shootings by the police. We also found that the effect of technology use is more pronounced for armed suspects and among males, the youth, and minorities.

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... There have also been other studies completed, the most notable of which in California, USA, which has resulted in BWV cameras appearing to reduce the number of complaints made against officers with both police officers and members of the public apparently changing their behaviour because of its use (Ariel et al., 2014). An argument has also been made by Pang and Pavlou (2016) that the cameras can reduce the use of deadly force utilised by police officers in the USA which links to the idea of police behaviour also being modified. However, this research is in its infancy and lacking any similar research, and therefore needs further investigation. ...
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