FBI: Attacks on Officers Increased, But Fewer Were Killed in 2023

By Steve Neavling

The rate of law enforcement officers assaulted over the past three years reached a 10-year high in 2023, while the number of officers killed in the line of duty declined during the same time frame, according to new FBI data. 

The report, released Tuesday, shows that more than 79,000 officers were assaulted last year. Officers were most frequently assaulted while responding to simple assaults against a citizen, followed by drug violations. 

Sixty officers were killed in the line of duty in 2023, compared to 61 in 2022 and 73 in 2021. But taken together, the 194 killings between 2021 and 2023 marks the highest consecutive three-year period in two decades. 

Guns are also becoming a bigger problem for officers. The number of officers assaulted and injured by firearms – 466 – reached a 10-year high last year. Guns were also the most frequently used weapons in officer deaths. About 53% of officers killed last year died from a gunshot wound, a slight increase over 2022. 

Last month, four officers who were part of a U.S. Marshals Task Force in North Carolina were killed.

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