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# Of Police Killings

500

1K

1.5K

2K

2.5K

3K

3.5K

4K

4.5K

5K

5.5K

6K

6.5K

7K

Click on a country for details.

Police Killings by Country 2024

Entering into and defusing potentially dangerous situations is a fundamental aspect of police work. In most cases, these situations are without the use of deadly force—but in certain extreme cases, the situation can end in the death of the suspect (or other civilians) at the hands of the police. These cases often spark public concern, particularly in cases in which the police seem to be at fault, and are often highly scrutinized and used to analyze the safety and effectiveness of police procedures and training.

Top 10 Countries with the Highest Numbers of Police Killings in the World (most recent annual data):

Country
# Of Police Killings
Philippines6,069
Brazil5,804
Venezuela5,286
India1,731
Syria1,497
United States1,096
El Salvador1,087
Nigeria841
Afghanistan606
Pakistan495

Police shootings in the United States

Police shootings are an issue of great concern and controversy in the United States, which has the highest number of police shootings of any developed country (every other country in the top 10 is a developing country) and the highest rate of private gun ownership in the world. In addition to the sheer number of police shootings, the killings of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, whose killer, George Zimmerman, was acquitted after claiming self-defense; and emergency medical worker Breonna Taylor, who was shot by plainclothes detectives who may have failed to identify themselves as police before breaking down her door, have sparked massive protests and concerns about racial inequality in the U.S. justice system.

Racial concerns are bolstered by data from sources such as the Washington Post police shootings database, which has kept track of police shootings in the United States since 2015. Between 2015 and 2019, U.S. police killed an average of nearly 1,000 people per year. African Americans made up only 13% of the total U.S. population, but accounted for a full 24% of the victims of police shootings. Conversely, whites made up roughly 60% of the population, but only 46% of the deaths from police shootings. The threat of police violence looms larger in some regions than others. 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—Reno, NV; Oklahoma City, OK; Santa Ana, CA; Anaheim, CA; St. Louis City, MO; Scottsdale, AZ; Hialeah, FL; and Madison, WI—kill black men at higher rates than the U.S. murder rate.

The specific reasons for the abnormally high number of police shootings in the U.S., as well as their racial disparity, are matters of considerable debate. Also, while the number of police shootings in the U.S. is still abnormally high, it is noteworthy that once that number is evaluated in relation to the total population, the U.S. drops out of the top ten. When compared by the number of police killings per 10 million residents, the U.S. ranks 33rd. While this is an improvement, its number of 28.54 per 10 million residents is nearly double that of the next-highest developed country (Luxembourg, whose population is so small that a single killing gave in a 16.9 score) and nearly three times that of Canada (9.7).

Top 10 Countries with the Highest Rate of Police Killings (per 10 million residents — U.S. ranks 33rd):

Country
Rate per 10M
Venezuela1829.90
El Salvador1703.80
Syria819.00
Philippines556.50
Nicaragua522.70
Jamaica472.70
Trinidad and Tobago339.70
Brazil276.20
Bahamas275.70
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines181.80

Countries with the most and fewest police killings per year

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 died in confrontations with police and were armed.

On the other hand, many countries have an extremely low number of police killings. For example, police killings are virtually nonexistent in some European countries. Denmark, Iceland, and Switzerland have all reported zero police killings. Perhaps unsurprisingly, all three are among the top ten safest countries in the world. In fact, police in Iceland do not carry firearms—which may help explain why the 2013 police killing of a single civilian was the only such event the country has experienced in its entire history. Additionally, Hong Kong, Luxembourg, Malta, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, and Saint Lucia average one police killing in a year. Of these, Portugal and New Zealand are also considered to be among the ten safest countries in the world.

Notes:
- Note: Totals include those killed by security forces such as military police and intelligence agents. For countries whose data includes multiple years, the annual average is displayed. Rate per million is computed using population from the same year as the data rather than current population.
- The presented numbers on police killings by country are the closest estimates available, but the true values may be higher.

Download Table Data

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Country
# Of Police Killings
Rate per 10M
Notes
Data Year
Philippines6,069556.50
Includes only deaths during anti-drug operations. Totals would be higher if deaths from other police...
2021
Brazil5,804276.20
2019
Venezuela5,2861829.90
2019
India1,73112.54
Includes 1,606 deaths listed as occurring in "judicial custody," but not due to police, military, or...
2019
Syria1,497819.00
Note: Syria is involved in a civil war.
2019
United States1,09633.10
2022
El Salvador1,0871703.80
2017
Nigeria84144.00
2018
Afghanistan606170.50
2018
Pakistan49525.20
2017
Bangladesh46628.30
2018
South Africa43676.90
Data range from 2017 to 2018.
2018
DR Congo38947.80
2018
Mexico37130.00
2017
Nicaragua325522.70
Low estimate. Actual total may be as high as 535.
2018
Iran30436.60
Low estimate. Actual total is likely higher.
2019
Kenya22243.50
2018
Egypt21221.20
2018
Iraq17645.10
2019
Colombia16934.10
2017
Dominican Republic142131.80
2017
Sudan13832.10
2019
Jamaica137472.70
2018
Burkina Faso11660.40
Data range from 2018 to 2019.
2019
Angola10034.70
Data covers capital city only.
2016
Argentina9521.60
2019
Indonesia772.90
2018
Canada6918.60
2022
Uruguay6735.10
Data range from 2014 to 2019.
2019
Mali6032.30
2018
Trinidad and Tobago46339.70
2014
Burundi3935.90
2018
France375.50
2021
Rwanda3731.00
Data range from 2016 to 2017.
2017
Honduras3740.40
2019
Central African Republic3064.40
Includes 18 documented executions| Data range from 2015 to 2016.
2016
Netherlands2413.70
2022
Lesotho1963.80
Data range from 2017 to 2018.
2018
Australia166.50
Data range from 2019 to 2020.
2020
Guyana12152.50
2018
Germany111.30
2018
Bahamas11275.70
2018
Nepal51.70
2019
Belgium54.30
2021
United Kingdom30.50
2019
Japan20.20
2018
Poland20.50
2020
Taiwan20.80
2018
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines2181.80
2018
Sweden11.00
2019
Portugal11.00
2018
Hong Kong11.30
2019
Finland11.80
2018
Norway11.90
2016
New Zealand12.10
2018
Luxembourg116.90
2018
Malta120.00
2019
Saint Lucia156.20
2019
Switzerland
2018
Denmark
2022
Iceland
Iceland has had only one police killing in its history, which took place in 2013.
2016
World28,932
showing: 61 rows

Which country experiences the most police killings?

The country that experiences the most police killings is the country of Venezuela.

Frequently Asked Questions

Sources