‘Active shooter’ incidents on the rise
USA Today - 09/25/2014
The FBI study defined “active shooters” as a person or people “actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people” in a “populated area.” That is different from mass shooting incidents, which include any shooting in which more than three people are killed. It also excluded domestic violence and drug and gang-related violence. Of the 160 incidents studied, 64 fit the federal definition of mass killing.
Criminologist James Alan Fox disputes the FBI conclusion. Active shooting and mass shooting events are rare, and the data are too limited to conclude that active shooter incidents are increasing, says Fox, a professor of criminology at Northeastern University in Boston.
“Unlike mass shooting data, which come from routinely collected police reports, there is no official data source for active shooter events,” Fox says. “It’s not clear whether the increase in active shooter events is completely related to the actual case count or to the availability and accessibility of news reports to identify such events.”