As of June 16, 37 police officers across the U.S. have been murdered in the first 5 months of 2021, which puts the year on track to be one of the deadliest.
In 2020, a total of 46 officers were murdered. This year has also seen a spike in violent crime and homicides – something that has made a policeman’s job even more dangerous.
FBI Director Christopher Wray addressed the issue before the House Oversight Committee to express his concerns about the increase in violent crime.
He in his opening statement, “Over the past year, we’ve seen a troubling uptake in violence against members of the law enforcement community. In just the first five months of 2021, 36 officers have been feloniously killed on the job. That’s far surpassing the number of by this time last year. To put that in perspective, that’s almost two law enforcement officers shot and killed every week.
He also drew attention to other dangers officers face besides murder, such as the pandemic, that have made the job inherently riskier over the past year.
“And that’s not counting all those officers who’ve died in the line of duty facing the countless other inherent dangers of the job, like from a car accident in pursuit after a subject or drowning during an attempted rescue. Or even the scores of officers who’ve died from Covid-19. Because, of course, law enforcement kept coming to work every day despite the pandemic.”
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund recorded 148 police officer deaths from all causes so far in 2021, compared to 134 this time last year. Traffic deaths, in particular, have increased 42 percent.
In addition to an increase in murders of police officers, homicides among civilians has also seen an increase.
In May, there were 56 shootings of four or more people, setting a grim record for the the highest number of mass shootings of any month since the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive began gathering the data in 2013. The national average for homicides for cities across the nation is up 20% from last year.
Wray said, “Since August of 2017 when I started in this job, I’ve made more than 200 of those calls,” referring to condolence calls he has made to families who have lost a loved one in the line of duty. “And with each one I think about the friends and family members rocked by the loss of a loved one, the careers cut short and the communities hurting.”
“It takes a pretty special person to get up in the morning and put his or her life on the line for a total stranger,” he said.