A recent dive into data concerning officers being killed in the line of duty revealed some alarming details about what’s happening in the southern portions of the United States.
According to data from the FBI, twenty-two police officers in the Southern United States have been gunned down by offenders in 2019, which is more than the rest of the United States combined.
When reviewing the the FBI’s Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted program to compare the respective regions of the United States, the south seemed to shows the greatest risk to officers with regard to criminals with guns.
Both in the West and the Midwest, nine officers were killed by criminal gunfire, two were fatally shot in Puerto Rico, and none have been killed in the Northeast.
The southern portion of the United States also played host to three murders of police recently, which were included in the overall data reviewed.
A known offender shot and killed Huntsville officer Billy Fred Clardy III last Friday during a drug bust in Alabama. In response to a situation of domestic violence on Saturday afternoon, Houston Police Sergeant Christopher Brewster was also killed during the intervention. And on Saturday night, just outside the Arkansas Police Department, Fayetteville Police Officer Stephen Carr was “ambushed and executed.”
Don Mihalek, who is the executive vice president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association Foundation, a retired senior Secret Service agent and also an ABC News contributor, gave his thoughts on the recent suspected shooters motivations.
He described that the suspects involved in the recent shootings realistically “decided that the way to exact their issue was to kill a cop.”– a haunting assessment of possible sentiments going through would-be cop killers when facing possible arrest.
A study published in the American Journal of Public Health in 2015 showed that states boasting increased gun ownership does, in fact, correlate to law enforcement shootings being more likely to occur.
According to a report written by a research assistant professor at the Chicago School of Public Health detailed that Georgia, Arkansas and Mississippi were among the top 20 percent for both gun ownership and law enforcement murders.
According to information from the Officer Down Memorial Page, Alabama and Texas had the most officer shooting deaths in 2019 at six each. This year, a seventh officer killed in the service line in Alabama died in a car crash. Further reviewing the memorial page, Georgia had four of its law enforcement officers killed this year by criminal shootings. According to the FBI, in 2019, three U.S. agents were also involved in incidents involving guns.
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Maria Haberfeld, who functions as a professor of police science at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, mentioned that there is a relationship between the number of guns in the south and the number of police being killed by guns.
Her pointed statement on the topic was: “You have guns; you have more violence. In the United States, it seems to be a direct correlation.”
Well, Haberfeld’s statement of “You have guns; you have more violence” is more of a half-truth.
While more guns in areas tend to have higher murder rates involving guns in general, another aspect to consider is deaths per capita by guns in areas with fewer guns.
Take for example, while you have a higher chance of being murdered down in Mississippi by a gun (4.2 out of 100,000 people), there’s also a 42.8% gun ownership rate in the state. Where in California, there’s a death by gun rate of 3.3 out of 100,000 people, with a 20.1% gun ownership rate in the state; meaning that every gun you encounter in California is 167% more likely to kill you than one you encounter in Mississippi. So, is this genuinely a gun problem, or is this more of an anti-law enforcement problem throughout our society?
- READ: MISSOURI MAN SHOT AND KILLED BY POLICE AFTER ALLEGEDLY POINTING GUN AT DETECTIVE. NOW HIS FAMILY IS DEMANDING JUSTICE FOR HIS “MURDER”
Mihalek described the obvious truth about guns and responsible gun ownership:
“A gun is a tool to defend and protect people, or for recreation and sport, but when placed in the hands of somebody who is not right, it can inflict terror.”
Robert Boyce, Retired NYPD Chief of Detectives and ABC News contributor, believes that there is some degree of affect that increased gun restrictions have regarding officers being shot by criminals.
Still, this doesn’t negate the fact that assaults not involving guns on NYPD officers have had some sharp increases over the years. Both Boyce and Mihalek can agree that there’s an element at play stemming from the anti-law enforcement sentiments sweeping throughout the country.
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