Active shooter incidents decreased in 2022

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

The term “mass shooting” is one popular phrase for describing a certain kind of incident, but another term often used is “active shooter incident.”


And we’ve been hearing all about just how many such shootings there have been, with numbers muddied by overly broad definitions that include things that shouldn’t be included. That’s just for mass shootings, though.

Gang shootings tend not to be lumped in with active shooter cases, and for good reason. They’re not remotely the same.

And it seems such shootings decreased in 2022.

Active shooter incidents in the United States in 2022 decreased, while the number of people shot increased, according to statistics released by the FBI on Wednesday.

The FBI, which defines an active shooter as “one or more individuals actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area,” noted that it is not an all-encompassing gun report. Incidents related to self-defense, gang violence, drug violence, domestic disputes, hostage situations or other criminal acts were excluded, according to the bureau.

“While we see a decrease from 2021 to 2022, we see over time over the past 20 years since we’ve been reporting on active shooter incidents and certainly in the last five years, there’s been an overall increase in this number,” an FBI official told reporters on a call Tuesday.

Statistics released by the FBI on Wednesday show that in 2022, there were 18% fewer active shooter incidents than in 2021, but the number of casualties rose from 243 to 313. The number of people killed, however, decreased by three.


There were a total of 50 shooters, which is kind of important information that should have been included early in the story, but at least I was able to eventually find it.

So let’s take a look at those numbers for a moment.

First, let’s remember that 2022 had one particularly brutal attack–the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas–that skews the numbers upward with regard to fatalities.

Yes, the good news is that total cases are down as are the number of people killed. However, we need to also remember that the total number of active shooter incidence is actually pretty small for a nation of 330 million people.

As such, it doesn’t take much of anything to create a significant change. A couple fewer active shooters and you get an 18 percent decrease in incidents.

The flip side is that just a couple more and you’ve got a scary increase in the total number of active shooter incidents. When you’re looking at relatively small numbers, it doesn’t take much to create what looks like a significant percentage worth of swing.

Yet we need to also remember that 2022 wasn’t 2021 in a number of ways. For example, this is the second year of relative calm after the uncertainty of 2020. That was a bad year all around and we saw a massive spike in the overall homicide rate, one that is slowly going down as people regain some sense of sanity.


It should also be noted that this decrease in active shooters comes despite little new gun control regulation on the national stage and none that was in effect in time to actually impact these numbers.

This was just people calming the hell down, which is what we really need, not new regulations.

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