In a new report released by the FBI, data showed 2021 was the deadliest year for police since 1995, excluding September 11, 2001.
The report showed 73 police officers were intentionally killed in 2021, the most since 1995, not counting the law enforcement officers who lost their lives on 9/11. Most of the intentional killings of US police last year were by gunfire, which mirrors a nationwide increase in gun violence last year in the United States.
Experts say the increase in intentional police killings is a result of the uptick in homicides, because officers most often find themselves in the midst of gunfire situations.
“When homicides go up, more shootings go up, and it contributes to an overall increase in violence and police officers find themselves in the middle of that environment,” Chuck Wexler, the executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) told CNN.
2021 followed 2020’s pattern of increased gun violence and homicides, a year marked by the coronavirus pandemic and racial tensions fueled by the killings of unarmed Black people by law enforcement officers.
Gunfire continues to be the most common method of officer homicides, with 55 officers killed by bullet through November of 2021, while in the same time period the two previous years the number was 39.