FBI head Christopher Wray said that the skyrocketing rate of police murders since 2020 deserves more attention in the press.

Wray sat for an interview with “60 Minutes” in an episode that aired on Sunday. During the interview, the FBI chief pointed to the 59% increase in the number of police officers murdered last year as one of the under-covered stories of the year.

“Some of it is tied to the violent crime problem as a whole. But one of the phenomena that we saw in the last year is that an alarming percentage of the 73 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty last year were killed through things like being ambushed – or shot while out on patrol,” Wray said, according to Fox News.

“They were killed because they were police officers,” he added. “Wearing the badge shouldn’t make you a target.”

Murder rates, in general, have been spiking in major American cities across the past two years. The year 2020 saw a nearly 30% increase in murders in the United States. Wray blamed the pandemic, repeat offenders, and more people deciding to become criminals in general, according to CBS News.

“And we’re seeing an alarming frequency of some of the worst of the worst getting back out on the streets,” Wray said. “We are working very hard with our partners, state and local law enforcement partners, through task forces, task forces all over the country. And through surging rapid deployment teams to try to combat violent crime in specific hot spots. Last year, I think we arrested something like 15,000 violent gang members around the country. And part of what fuels us to pursue this mission is our deep conviction that law enforcement’s most sacred duty is to ensure that people can live free from fear in their own homes and neighborhoods.”

In a monthly update, the National Fraternal Order of Police recently reported that the number of officers shot in the line of duty in 2022 is 46% higher than the year before, and 63% more than in 2020.

“The National Fraternal Order of Police reports that as of 1 April, there have been 101 officers shot in the line of duty so far in 2022 (+46% from 2021 YTD; +63% from 2020 YTD). Of those officers shot, 17 of them were killed by gunfire,” the police union said. “There have been 19 ambush-style attacks on law enforcement officers this year (+36% from 2021 YTD). These ambush-style attacks have resulted in 32 officers shot, 5 of whom were killed by gunfire.”

Public displays of anti-police sentiment exploded in 2020 following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May, a couple of months into widespread lockdowns over COVID-19. Protests over police violence fed the “Defund the Police” movement that called for police departments to be stripped of their funding to finance more social programs.

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