FBI: Police killings down, assaults up in past 3 years

By Ehren Wynder

May 14 (UPI) -- The number of police officers killed in the line of duty has declined in the past three years, but the rate of officers assaulted in the same time frame has risen, according to report from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The FBI on Tuesday released a special report based on information collected from state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies around the country. The study revealed 194 officers were feloniously killed between 2021 and 2023, more than any other consecutive three-year period in the past two decades.


Year-to-year police killings, however, declined within that timeframe, with 73 officers in 2021, 61 in 2022 and 60 in 2023.

Firearms were the most commonly used weapons, and 52% of officers killed in 2023 died from a gunshot wound, a slight increase from 2022.

The southern United States, the largest region in the country, has had the highest number of police killings than any other region for the past decade. Last year, however, marked 20 killings, a 38% decrease from 32 in 2022.

It was the lowest recorded number in the South since 2015, when 19 officers in the region were reported killed in the line of duty.


While police killings have declined in the past three years, assaults on law enforcement have gone up in each of those years, according to the FBI.

Agencies reported 79,091 incidents in 2023, the highest officer assault rate in the past decade. The majority of incidents, 6,783, happened when an officer was responding to an assault against a non-officer, followed by 4,879, which happened when an officer was responding to a drug violation.

The number of officers assaulted or injured with a firearm reached a 10-year high in 2023, with around 466 reported cases.

The FBI report comes amid National Police Week and follows a candlelight vigil for fallen officers held Monday on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Four U.S. Marshalls were shot and killed last month while trying to arrest a suspect wanted on firearms charges.

Attorney General Merrick Garland at Monday's vigil said the officers' deaths "stand as a stark reminder of the enormous risks our law enforcement officers face every day, even when making the relatively routine arrests they make every day."

Latest Headlines