Technology alters perception of police-related violence

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APTOPIX Police Shot Baton Rouge_163407

Police guard the emergency room entrance of Our Lady Of The Lake Medical Center, where wounded officers were brought, in Baton Rouge, La., Sunday, July 17, 2016. Multiple law enforcement officers were killed and wounded Sunday morning in a shooting near a gas station in Baton Rouge, less than two weeks after a black man […]

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – News of yet another deadly shooting involving police officers in Baton Rouge Sunday has many wondering: Why is this happening again?

Gavin Eugene Long, an ex-Marine from Kansas City, was identified as the shooter responsible for killing 3 officers and wounding 3 others in Baton Rouge, in what appears to be an ambush by a lone gunman.

The incident came just 12 days after police shot Alton Sterling during an arrest outside a Baton Rouge convenience store. Sterling’s death, along with the shooting death of Philando Castile in a St. Paul, Minnesota suburb, were caught on video.

Both shootings prompted a number of protests around the country, including here in the CSRA. In Dallas, a peaceful protest erupted in gunfire that left 5 officers dead.

Though it may seem like police are under constant attack these days, criminologist Dr. Randy Blazak tells KOIN 6 News in Portland, Oregon that its technology that’s altering our perception.

“This is a year unlike any other,” Blazak said. “A lot of things are happening, including the flaming of tensions coming from the presidential campaign, and the new technology to make these assaults by police more visible to the general population.”

It’s access to technology that Blazak says has made Americans more cognizant of the violence that plagues many of our communities each and every day.

“This may be where things change from the previous trend,” he continued.

Although attacks against police have seemed to explode in recent weeks, Blazak says there’s been a “downward trend” on violent acts against police since the 1980s.

In 1985, 176 officers were killed in the line of duty. In 2015, that number was down to 123. Although the numbers vary year-to-year, Blazak says the overall trend shows a slight decline in police deaths, despite public perception that may indicate otherwise.

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