More than 113 census takers have been the victims of assaults or attacks since April 1, the U.S. Census Bureau said late Wednesday.
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. Six 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 did not return requests for comment Wednesday night and did not provide comparable figures from the 2000 Census. Twenty-one census workers died on the job between 1998 and 2009, according to agency figures.
Aides said Maloney requested the information to determine whether news reports were accurately reflecting a trend or merely focusing on a few incidents.
“These acts of violence against census enumerators are tragic, especially when you consider these temporary workers were only trying to do their job making sure their neighbors are accurately and fairly counted in the Decennial Census,” Maloney said.
The attacks come as the agency announced stricter hiring rules on Wednesday after a registered sex offender using an alias got a job as a census taker.