Fox News dedicated an entire segment Sunday to what host Chris Wallace described as a recent increase in violence against police. Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn joined to blame the supposed uptick on "self-styled activist" voices and a "relentless propaganda war" against police from "our network television stations."
A series of high-profile shootings of unarmed black men by police officers over the past year have highlighted racial tensions and disparities in policing. But there is no recent upward trend in the killing of police officers, according to data collected by the Officer Down Memorial Page, which tracks police deaths.
In 2011, the number of police deaths in line of duty caused by gunfire or stabbing totaled 70. That number dropped to 53 in 2012 and 33 in 2013, before rising to 47 in 2014. Thus far in 2015, 24 officers have been killed by gunfire or stabbing, on pace for a lower number than in 2014.
Overall homicide rates have, however, increased this year in a host of major cities, according to The New York Times. Flynn blamed that rise in killings on lax gun laws, saying that too many convicted criminals have access to firearms.
"A number of us have suffered from recently weakened gun laws that have made it much easier for our criminals to gain access to firearms," Flynn said. "When the major cities met a few weeks ago, all of us noticed the phenomenon -- a lot more rounds are being fired at each shooting and overwhelmingly being driven by people with criminal records shooting people with criminal records. That's driving our homicide rates."