Last week, a routine visit by a U.S. Census worker in Yuba City, California ended in violence when “police officers shot and killed a woman they said had first threatened the worker with a gun, then later confronted officers with a shotgun.” The Washington Post’s Ed O’Keefe reports today that the threat against a Census worker was not an isolated incident. In fact, the Census Bureau says that “more than 113 census takers have been the victims of assaults or attacks this month”:
In response to inquiries by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), Census Director Robert Groves said the bureau’s temporary workers knocking on doors to collect information have faced 29 threats involving a gun, four robberies and three instances of being held against their will or carjacked. Seven workers died in car accidents and one was killed while off duty.
The Census Bureau hired about 635,000 people to follow up with people who did not return questionnaires by the end of April. The process is more than half completed, and is scheduled to continue into July.
Bureau officials said the overall pattern and types of incidents are similar to the 2000 census, but cautioned this year’s figures are already much higher than ten years ago and include a mix of news accounts and formal reports to the bureau’s safety office.
As ThinkProgress has noted, for months, conservatives have spread unfounded fears and rumors about the Census, and some have even endorsed intimidating Census workers. In April, CNN contributor and RedState editor Erick Erickson threatened on his radio show to “pull out my wife’s shotgun” if a Census worker approached his home for the American Community Survey.