(NEW YORK) -- While violent crime keeps going down in the U.S., 50 law enforcement officers have died in the line of duty this year.
The incidence of police slain by gunfire has jumped 32 percent from this same point in 2010, reports USA Today. More disturbing is the fact that 40 percent of the fatalities were the result of ambush-style attacks, according to the newspaper's reviews of case summaries and discussions with cops.
Commenting on this trend, Attorney General Eric Holder said earlier this month, "Too many guns have fallen into the hands of those who are not legally permitted to possess them."
He has ordered a review of officer safety, in particular, to find way for officers to survive ambush-style attacks.
Ambush killings of police have risen steadily over the years when just 10 percent of these fatalities were reported in 1994.
Criminologists told USA Today that it appears gunmen are now aiming their weapons above bullet-proof vests in order to strike their targets in either the head or neck.
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