How Safe Are Prosecutors?

People often ask me if I feel like my job puts me in danger of violence by a criminal out for revenge.  They point out that it is virtually impossible to remove identifying information from the internet; anyone could find out where I live and come to my house. I also heard about Sean May, a prosecutor killed a few years ago in Denver who was survived by his pregnant wife.  I did a little looking and found out that despite this story the number of prosecutors killed is relatively low.

Adams County prosecutor Sean May was killed outside his home four years ago.

14 prosecutors have been killed in the past 100 years.  At least 8 of them were killed because of their work.  By contrast, at least 17 teachers, principals, and other staff members have been shot by students since 1995.  Six staff members were killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting alone.  During the 2011-2012 school year, 5% of teachers were physically attacked by a student from their school.  9% of teachers reported being threatened with injury by a student from their school.  This was down from 12% in 1993-1994.

It’s not a perfect comparison: I wasn’t able to find anything about the rate of killings among either profession, and there are a lot more teachers than prosecutors.  But I think it’s safe to say that teachers are in just as much danger from school violence, if not more danger, than prosecutor’s are from defendants’ reprisals.

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