FBI Report Says Active Shooter Incidents on the Rise

The first seven years that were reviewed had an average of 6.4 incidents per year, while the last seven years showed 16.4 incidents annually.

Active shooter incidents are becoming more frequent, with the number of mass shootings more than doubling in the past seven years compared to the previous seven, an FBI report has found.

“A Study of Active Shooter Incidents in the United States Between 2000 and 2013” says the first seven years that were reviewed had an average of 6.4 incidents per year, while the last seven years showed 16.4 incidents annually. Seven in 10 incidents occurred either in a commerce/business or educational environment, and the number of casualties, not including shooters, totaled 1,043.

The study, which was released on Wednesday, reviewed 160 incidents. Two of the four events with the highest casualty counts occurred at academic institutions: Virginia Tech in 2007 (32 killed and 17 wounded) and Sandy Hook Elementary School (27 killed and two wounded). The other two events with the greatest number of casualties were the Aurora, Colo., theater mass shooting in 2012 (12 killed and 58 wounded) and Ft. Hood attack in 2009 (13 killed and 32 wounded).

Other major findings from the study include:

  • All but six of the 160 incidents involved male shooters (and only two involved more than one shooter).
  • More than half of the incidents-90 shootings-ended on the shooter’s initiative (i.e., suicide, fleeing), while 21 incidents ended after unarmed citizens successfully restrained the shooter.
  • In 64 incidents (40.0%), the shooters committed suicide; 54 shooters did so at the scene of the crime. 
  • In 21 of the 45 incidents where law enforcement had to engage the shooter to end the threat, nine officers were killed and 28 were wounded.
  • The largest percentage of incidents-45.6 percent-took place in a commercial environment (73 incidents), followed by 24.3 percent that took place in an educational environment (39 incidents). The remaining incidents occurred at the other location types specified in the study-open spaces, military and other government properties, residential properties, houses of worship, and healthcare facilities.

View the data charts.

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About the Author

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Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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