Where were people killed by police in 2015?

Justin Feldman
2 min readJan 9, 2016

To find out, I analyzed data from The Guardian’s The Counted, which tracks law enforcement-related deaths in the United States. I calculated population size-adjusted rates for every county, then made the maps below.

(Technical note: counties with low populations can throw off this kind of analysis, because a small county with one death might have a very high death rate. I used a method that takes this into consideration, and down-weights small counties towards the national average.)

Some takeaway points:

  • Many of the counties with the highest rates of police-related deaths were clustered in the Southwest, including southern and central California.
  • In Los Angeles, law enforcement killed 15 unarmed people in 2015. This makes it the top-ranked county with the highest rate of law enforcement killings of unarmed people. To put that in perspective, 2 unarmed people were killed by police in New York City and 1 in Chicago over the same time period.
  • Kern County, California is the top-ranked county overall for rates of police-related deaths. The Guardian has explored police-related deaths in Kern County in a 5-part series.

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Justin Feldman

I’m a social epidemiologist and Health & Human Rights Fellow at the Harvard FXB Center.