Police officer line-of-duty gunfire deaths up 15% this year

As gunfire fatalities are on the rise, officers are quitting at never-before-seen rates and crime is increasing

Updated: August 23, 2022 - 4:01pm

Police officer line-of-duty deaths from gunfire are up 15% so far this year compared to the same time period in 2021 as crime rates are surging in major cities across the country.

Overall line-of-duty deaths, which includes officers who die from COVID-19, 9/11-related illnesses and vehicle crashes, are down so far this year, Officer Down Memorial Page shows. 

Also, 103 officers have died in the line of duty this year when COVID-19 fatalities are not accounted for. Last year, 182 officers died in the line of duty, not including those who succumbed to COVID.

Gunfire deaths are up, with 45 line-of-duty deaths in 2022 so far. Gunfire deaths have been increasing over the past several years. For example, in 2021, 64 officers died from gunfire in the line of duty, up 25% from 2020 when 51 officers died from gunfire.

The increasing firearm fatalities come as officers are quitting the job at increasing rates.

"We see law enforcement officers leave our profession at a rate we've never seen before. Our profession is dependent on the best and the brightest stepping up and taking this job," Fraternal Order of Police President Patrick Yoes said in a video published by the organization on Tuesday.

Because of the rise in crime and anti-police attitude arising from the 2020 George Floyd protests, officers are facing "a crisis right now in manpower," Yoes stressed.

Additionally, officers are facing challenges with rising crime rates.

For example, in New York City, the overall crime index for July 2022 increased by 30.5% compared to the previous July, New York Police Department data show.

In Chicago, crime is up 37% from this time last year, according to police department data released Sunday.

Los Angeles Police Department statistics show that as of mid-August, crime is up 5.5% compared to the same time last year.