Police Killings By Country 2020

Thousands of people around the world are killed by law enforcement, both on- and off-duty. Police officers in the United States shoot and kill hundreds of people every year, which is far more than comparable developed countries such as Germany, the United Kingdom, and Japan.

In the United States, police shootings have sparked protests across the country, such as that of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed, 17-year-old African-American student who was shot and killed in 2012. His killer, George Zimmerman, was a neighborhood watch coordinator of a gated community where Trayvon was visiting relatives. Zimmerman was acquitted at trial for Trayvon’s death, claiming self-defense. A Change.org petition calling for Zimmerman’s arrest collected over 2.2 million signatures, the largest petition in the website’s history.

The Washington Post has kept track of police shootings in the United States since 2015. Between 2015 and 2018, U.S. police have killed 3,309 people. In 2019, U.S. police killed 1,099 people, 24% of whom were black.

Location matters when it comes to police killings, both in U.S. states and around the world. Black persons in Oklahoma are six times more likely to be killed by police than those in Georgia. Additionally, eight of the 100 largest police departments in the United States kill black men at higher rates than the U.S. murder rate. These departments are Reno, Oklahoma City, Santa Ana, Anaheim, St. Louis City, Scottsdale, Hialeah, and Madison.

The United States, however, does not have the highest number of police killings or the highest rate of police killings per 10 million people. The United States has the fifth-highest number of police killings and the 30th-highest rate of police killings per 10 million people.

The following countries have the highest numbers of police killings in the world, based on the most recent data available:

  1. Brazil – 6,160
  2. Venezuela – 5,287
  3. Philippines – 3,451
  4. Syria – 1,497
  5. United States – 1,099
  6. Nigeria – 841
  7. El Salvador - 609
  8. Afghanistan – 606
  9. Pakistan – 495
  10. Bangladesh 466

Brazil has the highest number of police killings at 6,160, nearly six times that of the United States. Rio de Janeiro, the country’s most violent state and much of which is under the control of drug-trafficking gangs, has the highest number of police killings. Officials claim that most of the police killing victims are those who died in confrontations with police and were armed.

The countries with the highest rates of police killings per 10 million people are:

  1. Venezuela – 1632.70
  2. El Salvador – 954.5
  3. Syria – 831.6
  4. Nicaragua – 522.7
  5. Jamaica – 472.7
  6. Trinidad and Tobago – 339.7
  7. Philippines – 322.5
  8. Brazil – 293.2
  9. Bahamas – 275.7
  10. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines – 181.8

Police killings are much less common or virtually nonexistent in some European countries. Denmark, Iceland, and Switzerland have all reported zero police killings. Both Denmark and Iceland are among the top ten safest countries in the world. Additionally, police in Iceland do not carry firearms.

Other countries have very low numbers as well. Hong Kong, Luxembourg, Malta, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, and Saint Lucia all have one police killing in a year. Of these, Portugal and New Zealand are considered to be among the ten safest countries in the world as well.

Police Killings By Country 2020

Country Total Killed Rate Per 10M Population 2020
Brazil6,160293.20212,559,417
Venezuela5,2871632.7028,435,940
Philippines3,451322.50109,581,078
Syria1,497831.6017,500,658
United States93328.40331,002,651
Nigeria84144.00206,139,589
El Salvador609954.506,486,205
Afghanistan606170.5038,928,346
Pakistan49525.20220,892,340
Bangladesh46628.30164,689,383
South Africa43676.9059,308,690
Dr Congo38947.8089,561,403
Mexico37130.00128,932,753
Nicaragua325522.706,624,554
Iran30436.6083,992,949
Palestine238508.005,101,414
Kenya22243.5053,771,296
Egypt21221.20102,334,404
Iraq17645.1040,222,493
Colombia16934.1050,882,891
Dominican Republic142131.8010,847,910
Sudan13832.1043,849,260
Jamaica137472.702,961,167
India1351.001,380,004,385
Burkina Faso11660.4020,903,273
Angola10034.7032,866,272
Argentina9521.6045,195,774
Honduras92110.209,904,607
Indonesia772.90273,523,615
Mali6032.3020,250,833
Trinidad And Tobago46339.701,399,488
Burundi3953.9011,890,784
Rwanda3731.0012,952,218
Canada369.7037,742,154
Central African Republic3064.404,829,767
France263.8065,273,511
Uruguay2263.403,473,730
Lesotho1963.802,142,249
Guyana12152.50786,552
Bahamas11275.70393,244
Germany111.3083,783,942
Sweden66.0010,099,265
Nepal51.7029,136,808
Netherlands42.3017,134,872
Australia41.7025,499,884
Swaziland322.101,160,164
Finland35.405,540,720
United Kingdom30.5067,886,011
Saint Vincent And The Grenadines2181.80110,940
Taiwan20.8023,816,775
Poland20.5037,846,611
Japan20.20126,476,461
Saint Lucia156.20183,627
Malta120.00441,543
Luxembourg116.90625,978
New Zealand12.104,822,233
Norway11.905,421,241
Hong Kong11.307,496,981
Portugal11.0010,196,709
Iceland0.00341,243
Denmark0.005,792,202
Switzerland0.008,654,622