By Julian Hattem - 05/11/15 10:37 AM EDT
The number of law enforcement officers killed through acts of violence has been on a precipitous upswing, according to preliminary data from the FBI.
Statistics released by the bureau on Monday show that 51 officers were killed by a felony crime in 2014, up from the just 27 killed in 2013 — which represented a 35-year low.
The new data come amid growing tensions between police and communities across the country, in the wake of multiple deaths of unarmed black men and boys at the hands of police.
As instances of unrest have spread from Ferguson, Mo., to Staten Island, N.Y., to Baltimore, scrutiny of law enforcement and of the perils that come with the job have also been on the rise.
According to the FBI’s new data, officers were shot at in 46 of the 51 deaths. Four officers were run over by vehicles and one was killed by someone’s bare hands.
Those deaths happened in a mix of situations: 11 officers were killed after answering disturbance calls, 10 were attempting to make traffic stops and eight were killed in an ambush. In other instances, officers were killed while investigating cases, dealing with people with mental illnesses or making other arrests.
All of the cases from the slayings have been closed, the FBI said.
In addition to the violent killings, an additional 44 officers were accidentally killed in 2014 in the line of duty, including 28 automobile accidents and two accidental shootings.
The number of accidental deaths was five fewer last year than in 2013.
Full statistics will be published by the FBI in an annual report this fall.