Law Enforcement Officers Assaulted in 2021
According to statistics released by the FBI’s Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) program, 43,649 officers were assaulted while performing their duties in 2021. The data was collected from 7,886 law enforcement agencies employing 354,144 officers.
Agencies that submitted LEOKA assault information for 2021 did so exclusively via the FBI’s National Incident-Based Reporting System (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. LEOKA assault estimates use the same NIBRS calculation methods as the 2021 estimates for crime in the nation that the FBI released in October 2022.
Estimated trend tables in the release provide year-over-year trends for 2020 to 2021. They include national and regional estimates of assaults by data elements that include weapons, location type, time of day, and type of assignment.
- Assaults on law enforcement officers increased 11.2% from 2020 to 2021.
- Assaults against officers involving weapons increased 10.5%, 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 from the assaults increased 18.3% from 2020 to 2021.
Each of these estimated data points were deemed statistically significant based on the NIBRS calculation process.
Actual Counts of Assaults
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 assaulted in 2021, 35.2% (15,369) sustained injuries.
- By region, 49.5% (21,609) of the reported assaults occurred in the South, 25.8% (11,261) occurred in the West, 17.0% (7,437) took place in the Midwest, and 7.7% (3,342) happened in the Northeast.
- 28.6% (12,463) of the reported assaults occurred while officers responded to disturbance calls.
- 18.4% (8,046) of officers assaulted were attempting “other arrests.”
- 13.8% (6,037) of officers were assaulted while handling, transporting, or maintaining custody of prisoners.
Of the officers assaulted in the line of duty:
- 74.3% (32,421) were attacked with personal weapons (e.g., hands, fists, or feet).
- 5.1% (2,247) were assaulted with firearms.
- 2.3% (1,000) were attacked with knives or other cutting instruments.
- 18.3% (7,981) were assaulted with other dangerous weapons.
All 2021 LEOKA data is available exclusively on the FBI’s Law Enforcement Data Explorer, a subset of the Crime Data Explorer.