Violence Against Law Enforcement on the Rise

Scott Erickson /

Earlier this month, a friend and colleague of mine in law enforcement was shot while pursuing two individuals suspected of robbery and murder. He survived the attack, but several of our law enforcement colleagues who serve to protect the public have not been so lucky.

After a confluence of factors contributed to a decrease in violent crime throughout the U.S., dropping from historically high levels of violence in the 1980s and early 1990s, citizens in major cities throughout America have seen their exposure to violent crime drop.

Those historic drops in violence, however, have not been extended to the police officers who have greatly contributed to the effective suppression of crime throughout the nation.

The FBI’s Uniform Crime Report (UCR), a leading metric through which both violent and property crime are calculated, issued its final report on law enforcement officers killed and assaulted in 2011. The report found that 72 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in the U.S. last year, up from 56 officers killed in 2010.

The number of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty last year represented a jump of 75 percent and 50 percent from 2008 and 2009 numbers, respectively.

Some data points from the UCR report:

There is scant positive data to be gleaned from the 2011 report on violence against law enforcement; however, given the relatively stable level of violent assaults on law enforcement personnel over the preceding decade, it is unclear if the recent spike in violence is a temporary aberration or the beginning of a long-term trend.