Statistics from the nation's largest police union show that 283 law enforcement officers have been shot so far this year, and 44 of them have been killed.
The figures, through Nov. 30, represent a 7 percent increase in the number of officers shot compared to the same period in 2019, and a 28 percent jump compared to 2018, the Fraternal Order of Police said in a statement on Dec. 1.
"Violence targeted against our officers MUST be condemned by all!" the FOP stated, adding that "the disturbing trend of attacks on law enforcement should alarm all Americans."
Chicago, a hotspot of gun-related violence, has seen a spike in shootings of police officers. The number of incidents in which law enforcement officers were shot or targeted has grown by more than 294 percent year-to-date, compared to the same period in 2019, according to Chicago Police Superintendent David O. Brown. There have been 71 such incidents so far this year, compared to 18 last year, and 20 the year before, he noted.
"At no point in recent memory have our #ChicagoPolice officers ever faced such a level of inherent danger while performing their duties," Brown said in a statement. "Yet they continue to bravely serve with honor each day and night."
It comes on the heels of a report last week from the Chicago Police Department (pdf), which noted 2,974 shooting incidents so far this year, compared to 1,940 by the same time in 2019, a 53 percent increase. The report also noted that homicides in Chicago were up by the same percentage, with 700 so far in 2020, compared to 458 by the same period in 2019.
Meanwhile, law enforcement has come under intense pressure from activists and lawmakers, ranging from calls for targeted reform of tactics and policies, to outright calls to "defund the police."
Former District of Columbia homicide detective Ted Williams told Fox News in an interview that police work is now "in a great state of confusion."
"When you hear about defunding, disbanding police departments, this certainly is what has created havoc in law enforcement," Williams said, noting the rise of anti-police sentiment across the country, sapping morale.
"Police officers do not feel that their supervisors, commanders, and city officials have their back, so morale is at an all-time low in police departments all over this country," he added.
In a statement last week, the Fraternal Order of Police said that "as elected officials continue to push a backwards agenda under the guise of 'reform,'" many communities are seeing alarming trends such as skyrocketing homicide rates and an increase in violence targeting the most vulnerable.
"Blaming our brave police officers for crime instead of the individuals who commit the crime is absolutely disgraceful," the union stated.