According to statistics reported to the FBI, 43,649 officers were assaulted while performing their duties in 2021. The data were collected from 7,886 law enforcement agencies that employed 354,144 officers. This information is included in this year’s second release of 2021 Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) data. The first release concerning officers feloniously killed, officers accidentally killed, and federal officers killed and/or assaulted in 2021 was posted in May 2022. With today’s release of assault data, all 2021 LEOKA data are now available on the FBI’s Law Enforcement Data Explorer (a subset of the Crime Data Explorer).
Agencies that submitted LEOKA assault information for 2021 did so exclusively via the FBI’s National Incident-Based Reporting System known as NIBRS. Therefore, for the first time, in addition to actual counts reported, the FBI is releasing nationwide estimates for officers assaulted in the line of duty. The LEOKA assault estimates use the same NIBRS estimation methods as the 2021 estimates for crime in the nation that the FBI released on October 5.
Estimated trend tables in the release provide year-over-year trends for 2020 to 2021. They include national and regional estimates of assaults by a number of data elements including weapons, location type, time of day, and type of assignment. These estimates revealed:
- Assaults on law enforcement officers increased 11.2 percent from 2020 to 2021.
- Assaults against law enforcement officers involving weapons increased 10.5 percent from an estimated 72,300 incidents in 2020 to an estimated 79,900 incidents in 2021.
- The estimated number of officers sustaining at least one injury as a result of assaults increased 18.3 percent from 2020 to 2021.
Note: Each of the estimated data points described above were determined to be statistically significant based on the NIBRS Estimation Process.
Actual counts of assaults reported by law enforcement agencies
Statistics reported by law enforcement agencies about actual assault incidents continue to be included in this LEOKA data release.
Assaults and injuries
- Of the 43,649 officers who were assaulted in 2021, 35.2 percent (15,369) sustained injuries.
- By region, 49.5 percent (21,609) of the reported assaults occurred in the South, 25.8 percent (11,261) occurred in the West, 17.0 percent (7,437) took place in the Midwest, and 7.7 percent (3,342) happened in the Northeast.
- 28.6 percent of the reported assaults occurred while officers were responding to disturbance calls.
- 18.4 percent of officers assaulted were attempting “other arrests.”
- 13.8 percent of officers were assaulted while handling, transporting, or maintaining custody of prisoners.
Of the officers who were assaulted in the line of duty:
- 74.3 percent were attacked with personal weapons (e.g., hands, fists, or feet).
- 5.1 percent were assaulted with firearms.
- 2.3 percent were assaulted with knives or other cutting instruments.
- 18.3 percent were assaulted with other dangerous weapons.
LEOKA 2021 data is available exclusively on the FBI’s Law Enforcement Data Explorer (a subset of the Crime Data Explorer).