Regional Variation in Law Enforcement Deaths – Part A

February 15, 2011
By

(This article was first published on Mathew Analytics LLC » R, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

In recent months, there has been a series of high profile incidents in the United States where police officers were killed. While such events are unfortunate, the data suggests that it is extremely rare for an officer to be harmed or killed while on duty. In this post, I examine whether there are significant regional differences in the number of law enforcement personnel that have been killed. The data was acquired from Data.gov, and provides information on the number of officers killed from 1998 to 2005 in the south, west, northeast, and midwest.

These barplots show that the south had the largest number of law enforcement fatalities from 1998 to 2005. These results may not be all that surprising given that southern states have the highest murder rates in the United States.

ggplot(mydat, aes(place, value)) +
     geom_bar(fill="#336699", colour="black") +
     ylim(c(0,300)) + opts(title="Number of Police Officers Killed in the U.S. (1998-2007)") +
     opts(axis.text.y=theme_text(family="sans", face="bold")) +
     opts(axis.text.x=theme_text(family="sans", face="bold")) +
     opts(plot.title = theme_text(size=15, face="bold")) +
     xlab("") + ylab("")
 
ggplot(totdatc, aes(Year, Value)) +
     geom_bar(fill="#336699", colour="black") +
     ylim(c(0,100)) + opts(title="Number of Police Officers Killed in the U.S. (1998-2007)") +
     opts(axis.text.y=theme_text(family="sans", face="bold")) +
     opts(axis.text.x=theme_text(family="sans", face="bold")) +
     opts(plot.title = theme_text(size=15, face="bold")) +
     xlab("") + ylab("")

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