Police militarization in the US, over time

September 26, 2014
By

(This article was first published on Revolutions, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

The militarization of local police departments here in the US has been much in the news lately, and the New York Times published in June an in-depth article on how materiel from wars has ended up in the hands of US counties. Besides the traditional reporting it's a fantastic piece of data journalism: the Times submitted a freedom-of-information request to the Defense Department for the items, value and the date they were provided to each county, and published the data on GitHub. Here's a small snippet of the data:

FOIA-materiel

The Times also published an interactive map of the data, aggregated by county. What that map doesn't show is the element of time, and the rate at which materials were being supplied from 2006 to 2012. Andrew Cooper, an associate professor at Simon Fraser University, used the Times data and the R programming language to create this animation of the supply of materials throughout the US over the past 8 years:

 

You can find a link to the complete NYT article on the topic below.

New York Times: War Gear Flows to Police Departments

To leave a comment for the author, please follow the link and comment on their blog: Revolutions.

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