Despite popular media attention, the death rate of police officers in 2017 has been slowly but steadily dropping in recent years. In fact, this year’s number has been one of the lowest of its kind in nearly 60 years.
As of Thursday, 128 police officers have lost their lives in the line of duty in 2017. This is a decrease from 2016, where the number was 135 officers.
In fact, only the year 2013 has shown fewer officers down in the line of duty, at a record-low of 116. This is the lowest the rate has been since 1959.
This data is given by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
In 2017, the dominant cause of death for police officers was vehicular crashes. This alone took the lives of 47 policemen. In addition, 44 officers were fatally shot in 2017.
According to law enforcement, safety measures including better training programs, better policing strategies and enhanced safety gear have all been contributing to this year’s low officer death rate.
President Trump has drawn criticisms for his remarks in July, when he was encouraging New York law enforcement to be rough with suspects while loading them into the police car. These comments came during his speech on Long Island, where he was setting the stage for his administration’s plan to overcome the gang MS-13.
In addition, 971 people have died at the hands of police officers this year, according to The Washington Post.