(NBC NEWS) – The number of on-duty U.S. law enforcement officers killed as a result of criminal acts nearly doubled in 2014 after a historically low number the year before.
Fifty-one law enforcement officers were killed “as a result of felonious acts” in 2014, according to statistics released Monday by the FBI. In 2013, 27 officers were killed due to an act of violence, previously released statistics showed. But on average, 56 officers are killed each year, according to the most recent five-year average compiled in 2010, according to the FBI.
Officer killings were thrust into the spotlight beginning in 2014 as tensions between citizens and police flared in places like Ferguson, Missouri, Cleveland and New York. The number of officers killed on the job in 2015 won’t be released by the FBI until next year.
California, New York and Texas saw the most officers killed in 2014, with five each. And the month of May and Saturdays proved to be especially deadly for officers, according to the FBI.
Fifty-nine assailants have been identified in 2014’s 51 officer killings, the FBI said. Fifty of them had criminal records. A vehicle used as a weapon caused the deaths of four of the officers, and one officer was beaten, according to the FBI.
Forty-six of the slain officers were fatally shot by a handgun, rifle or shotgun.
An additional 48,000 officers were assaulted while on the job in 2014, the FBI reported.
Forty-five officers died in line-of-duty accidents in 2014, the FBI statistics showed, including car crashes.