WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The FBI reported on Monday that 76 law enforcement officers in the United States died last year while on duty, including 27 during criminal acts, a sharp drop from 2012.
The FBI said in its annual Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted report that 49 died in accidents in 2013, while nearly 50,000 officers were assaulted while on duty.
The 27 criminal deaths last year was down from 49 in 2012, 48 deaths in 2009 and 57 in 2004, according to the FBI.
The deaths last year occurred in 16 states, and the average age of the officer killed was 39.
Twenty-five of the slain officers were male, and two were female. Twenty-five officers were white, and two were black.
The numbers were compiled from reports by city, university, county, state, tribal and federal law enforcement agencies, as well as FBI field offices and nonprofit law enforcement organizations.
Firearms were used to kill 26 of the 27 officers, and one was killed by a vehicle. Fifteen of the deaths occurred in the South, the FBI said.
The FBI said 23 of the 49 officers who died accidentally while on duty last year were killed in automobile accidents. The number of accidental line-of-duty deaths was up by one from the 2012.
In 2013, of the 49,851 officers assaulted while on the job, 29.2 percent were injured. The largest percentage, 31.2 percent, were assaulted while responding to disturbance calls.
Assailants used mostly hands, fists, or feet in 79.8 percent of the incidents. Firearms were used in 4.5 percent of incidents, and knives or other weapons in 1.8 percent, with other objects used in the rest.
(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)