SAN DIEGO — Data from the San Diego Police Department shows an increase in violence against police officers.

In 2023, the city has reported double the number of violent encounters against officers when compared to years prior.

Gun-related violence toward officers in the City of San Diego is at a 5 year high; only adding to the daunting reality most officers face the moment they put on their uniform.

“If these folks are willing to shoot a police officer, they’re certainly willing to shoot at regular people too,” shared Sgt. Jared Wilson, president of the San Diego Police Officers Association.

In August, police exchanged gunfire with a 43-year-old gunman after finding an elderly woman and a dog lying unresponsive in a residential driveway.

“Numerous officers were shot at,” said Wilson. “The suspect who just murdered his mother was armed with an assault rifle.”

This marked the fourth incident in the month of August alone where an SDPD officer was threatened or shot at by a gun, bringing the total to eight so far this year. That’s nearly double from the average of 4.5 gun related threats a year from 2019 to 2022.

“We haven’t ever seen this level of violence in the last decade,” Wilson explained.It’s a huge increase in violence against police officers, particularly being shot at.” 

It’s a reality Wilson says is only adding to the city’s ongoing staffing issues.

“We’re down over 200 officers right now, 100 detectives,” Wilson said. “As the risk increases, regular people do the math and they wonder, ‘is it really worth it to sign up and put my life on the line when I could potentially be shot 8 times within the next year?’” 

Wilson says lax crime laws are the root of the cause and the solution at a local scale all begins with the state.

“When you have a gun offense that’s essentially getting the same punishment as a speeding ticket, a strong fine? That’s really not accountability,” Wilson said.