Friday, August 19, 2005

The Brazilian And the Policemen

The investigation into the shooting of the innocent Brazilian is producing cries for retribution on the London police. However, on the basis of information improperly published by the body investigating the affair and my Bayesian study, I believe the police did the right thing. And London remains much safer than Brazil.

The key data points for the police seem to have been:
1. The man lived in a block of 8 apartments, 1 or 2 of which had been occupied by bombers.
2. He closely resembled a terrorist suspect.
3. If he triggered the weapon, many innocent people would die.

In my view these points take him well over the 10% certainty level needed in this situation. And restraint and shooting without challenge were good tactics, since a bomber would trigger his weapon if challenged.

I hope that the compromised investigation does not prevent future suspect suicide bombers being shot by police.

Finally, it won't be much consolation to the poor guy's family, but the average Brazilian is much safer in London:

According to the United Nations, Brazil boasts the highest rate of homicides caused by firearms for any country not at war—more than 70 percent. Brazil’s murder rate has more than doubled since the mid-1980s, and in 2000 reached 28 homicides per 100,000.

And in Rio:

...things are improving. In 1994, out of every 100,000 inhabitants of Rio, 78 met a violent death.
Last year that figure had fallen to 50.

By comparison:

London’s murder rate per person: 2.4 per 100,000

New York’s murder rate per person: 6.9 per 100,000