The number of mass shootings notably increased in recent decades, with the average yearly death toll rising, reports a government-funded research initiative. In the 1970s, mass shootings took eight lives a year, on average, found the Violence Project. From 2010 to 2019, that average was 51 deaths a year. Of the mass shootings from 1966 to 2019, 20 percent occurred in the last five years studied. The Violence Project, a nonprofit funded by the National Institute of Justice, analyzed 170 mass shootings between 1966 and 2019 for commonalities and other identifiers, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Its report, said that more than 80 percent of mass shooters were noticeably in a crisis beforehand. The most common locations for mass shootings were at workplaces, followed by retail stores and restaurants. “This study—one of the most extensive assessments of mass violence to date—reveals a deeply unsettling trend: more Americans are dying at the hands of mass shooters than at any point in recent history,” said Amy Solomon of DOJ's Office of Justice Programs. She said the study could possibly help identify some warning signs and precursors to the events. Mass shooters have been more frequently motivated by hate or the potential for fame since 2015, said the Violence Project. The study used the Congressional Research Service’s definition of a mass shooting, a “multiple homicide incident in which four or more victims are murdered with firearms,” and where some of the murders occurred in a public location. The definition doesn’t include killings associated with criminal activity or “commonplace circumstance,” such as an argument or love triangle.