2021 saw a record high number of on-duty deaths of police officers.
The year's estimates range between 358 and 477 officers dying in the line of duty, an increase of about 30% over previous years.
According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, the cause of death varied; however, COVID-19 accounted for 67% of deaths this year.
FBI data, however, showed that as of Dec. 20, 69 officers suffered felonious deaths, up from 46 in 2020. The Fraternal Order of Police showed that as of Nov. 30, 58 officers had been slain this year, almost three times the number in 2019. Ambush-style attacks on police skyrocketed by 126% from the same time last year.
Spikes in crime across U.S. cities have been cited as a major contributing factor. ABC News reported that homicides hit record highs in 12 major U.S. cities this year, including Philadelphia, Indianapolis and Rochester, New York.
''It's terrible to every morning get up and have to go look at the numbers and then look at the news and see the stories. It's just crazy. It's just crazy, and this needs to stop,'' Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said regarding his city's homicide record.
Another cited factor is bail reform and the manner in which prosecutors in some cities handle certain crimes. Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said that LA District Attorney George Gascón's policies are too soft on crime, especially his zero-bail policy.
''There are individuals in communities that look at that as a lack of consequences, a lack of deterrence and open season in which to go and commit these types of crimes. The crisis during COVID, while well-intended, the impact it had on the criminal justice system was significant and severe that it's developing another crisis in public safety,'' Moore told KNX radio.
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