Number of Police Officers Killed Declined in 2015: FBI Data

41 officers died as the result of criminal acts in 2015, down from 51 in 2014

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The number of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty nationwide dropped by nearly 20 percent in 2015, with 41 officers killed as a result of criminal acts, the FBI announced Monday, NBC News reported.

The data seems to provide a counterweight to arguments that increased criticism of police, inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, has led to them being targeted for violence.

David Harris, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh who researches police behavior, said the decline is likely due to improvements in training and equipment, and advances in the treatment of traumatic injuries.

It also may be linked to historic drops in violent crime, Harris said.

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