Monday, December 30, 2013

Lowest Police Officer Shooting Death Rate Since 1887

I find myself reading this article from the December 30, 2013 Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and I find myself both pleased and astounded:
The number of law-enforcement officers killed by firearms in 2013 fell to levels not seen since the days of the Wild West, according to a report released Monday.
The annual report from the nonprofit National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund also found that deaths in the line of duty generally fell by 8 percent and were the fewest since 1959....
The number of firearms deaths fell 33 percent in 2013 and was the lowest since 1887.
It is not clear if this is the lowest rate or the lowest raw number.  Either way, it is good news.  If it is the lowest raw number then this is even more astonishing, because of the very low population in 1887.  It appears to be lowest rate, based on this description of the same story from the December 30, 2013 Guardian:
One hundred and eleven officers died on duty this year, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund said. The figure marks a decrease from 120 deaths in 2012 and 169 in 2011, and it is the lowest number of law enforcement fatalities since 1959, when 110 officers died on the job. 
The argument for banning assault weapons is that they put police at unnecessary risk.  How does that square with this extraordinary reduction in police officers killed with guns?


  1. I know that medical advances mean fewer people die from gunshot wounds than used to.
    This only mentioned deaths. How does this compare to the rate of police officers actually shot?

  2. Doubtless this is a part of it. But violence rates of all sorts (such as aggravated assault and rape) are also in long-term decline. Medical advances do not explain these.

  3. According to the press release, 33 officers were shot to death in 2013, as opposed to 27 in 1887. Wow! Wonderful news.