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Police shootings across the Phoenix metro area are on the rise again

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Posted at 9:10 AM, Jul 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-02 12:16:21-04

PHOENIX — Police shootings are again on the rise in the Valley, with at least 32 shootings happening in the first 6 months of 2021.

ABC15 has been keeping track of local police shootings, which were reported to the media, since 2016. Comparing the rate so far in 2021, only 2018 saw more shootings. The average since 2016 has been 51 shootings a year, according to ABC15's data.

Tempe police officers are trying a new kind of de-escalation training. Could it save lives? ABC15 Investigator Melissa Blasius looks at the results tonight on ABC15 at 10.

The cause of the rising number of police shootings is unclear. FBI statistics show a national increase in violent crime. However, police departments also faced months of protests, since last year's police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, to focus more on de-escalation and non-violent outcomes to calls.

Take a look at the map below for 2021 Valley police shootings, according to media reports.

According to ABC15's documentation of police shootings in the Valley and surrounding areas, there were 48 shootings in all of 2020, 40 shootings in 2019, 84 shootings in 2018, 43 shootings in 2017, and 42 shootings in 2016.

In 2018, the city of Phoenix had more officer-involved shootings than any city in the nation. That prompted public outcry, community meetings, and a consultant's report.

In response, Chief Jeri Williams mandated that all officers use body-worn cameras and report whenever they point a gun at a person. Officers were also offered additional mental health training.

The Maricopa County Attorney's Office also keeps track of officer-involved shootings being reviewed for possible criminal charges. MCAO's statistics show a similar pattern of increased shootings.

Got a news tip? Email ABC15 Investigator Melissa Blasius at and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.