Mass Killings Increase Dramatically in Last Seven Years

Study Shows Mass Shooting Have Tripled

Troubled teenagerAccording to a report issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in September, the number of incidents of multiple homicides in a firearms attack has tripled in recent years. The FBI looked at data related to shootings between 2000 and 2013, examining 160 cases. Officials cite two principal reasons for the increase—the accessibility of firearms and the notoriety of those committing the acts, leading to copycat killings.

Of the 160 mass shootings the FBI looked into, barely one quarter occurred between 2000 and 2006, with the rest taking place between 2007 and 2013. Officials found an average of six mass shootings during the first seven years of the study and nearly 17 per year in the last seven years. Seven out of ten incidents occurred in the workplace or at a school, and 60% were over before any law enforcement officers arrived. Almost half of the shootings resulted in the death of at least three people. FBI investigators did not look at any shootings involving gang or drug violence, however.

Investigators painted two primary profiles for perpetrators of mass killings—people who had “deeply held personal grievances” and those who sought to replicate the notoriety of others who committed mass killings. An expert at the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit in Quantico, Virginia, said that the widespread media coverage of mass killings can inspire others to engage in mass violence. He also contends that many potential killers can be recognized before they become violent, by counselors, ministers, teachers and police. Most FBI offices receive weekly calls from people with concerns about a potential gunman.

Overwhelmingly, the shooters tend to act alone—only two of the 160 shootings involved multiple assailants. Far and away, shooters are male, with only six females committing mass shootings.

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