FBI Report: Frequency of Active Shooter Events Has Increased

According to a study recently released by the FBI, from 2000 to 2012, the rate of active shooter incidents in the United States increased, particularly after 2008.

Between 2000 and 2008, approximately one event occurred every other month (five per year), but that rate increased to one per month between 2009 and 2012 (nearly 16 per year). The authors say the high rate continued in 2013—there were 15 incidents last year.

The most common location of an active shooter incident between 2000 and 2012 was a business (40%), while schools were the second most common location (29%). Nearly one in five events (19%) occurred outdoors.

The median response time for law enforcement was 3 minutes, and the median response time for solo officers was 2 minutes. The median number of people shot per event was five, not including the shooter. All of the events identified by the authors involved single shooters (94% were male), and in 55% of the events, the shooter had a connection with the attack location.

View the charts from this report.

“It also is worth noting that in the five largest-casualty events (Northern Illinois University in DeKalb; Sandy Hook Elementary School; Fort Hood Army Base, Killeen, Texas; Virginia Polytechnic and State University in Blacksburg; and the Century 21 Theater) the police were on scene in about 3 minutes; yet, a substantial number of people still were shot and injured or killed,” the report claims.

Nearly half (49%) of the incidents ended before police arrived at the scene: 67% percent ended by the shooter dying by suicide or leaving the scene; 33% ended by the potential victims stopping the shooter themselves.

Of the 51% of incidents that were still going when law enforcement arrived, 40% of the attackers either died by suicide or surrendered to police.  In the other cases (60%), police officers used force to stop the attackers, most often with firearms.