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How many victims are there?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Fatality Analysis Reporting System(FARS) there is between 300 and 400 fatalities reported each year involving police pursuits, as well as 7,000 injuries.

Lets do some math. According to the 2000 Census, the average family consists 3.14 members. The death of a member of the nuclear family now leaves 600+ Americans as victims (using the bottom of the FARS average). Thus, our number is now over 900. Sticking with conservative numbers, lets assume each victim has 3 other people in their life who they are close to, including friends, extended family, co-workers, fellow officers, etc. They now become victims. That adds another 900 to our number, bringing it to 1,800.

Now, lets do the same for the 7,000 reported injuries. That makes 42,000 victims associated with injuries. Thus, the most conservative estimate possible leaves the annual amount of victims at 43,800. With the total population about to surpass 300 million, that makes one out of every 6849 citizens a victim of a police pursuit.     

However, as previously reported on PursuitWatch, the FARS number is not very accurate.

First, the system is voluntary allowing some cases to never be filed. Also, many fatalities occur days after the report is filed. Finally, fatalities may not be classified as pursuit related mistakenly or by design. See the original report:

Jim Phillips came up with statistics double the number of the NHTSA system by gathering his own numbers through media reports. Thus, there would be an average of 600 fatalities, rather then the 300 FARS reported. Next, the number of injuries would rise from 7,000 to 14,000. Using the same math as above, one out of every 3424 Americans annually become direct victims of police pursuits.  



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