FBI Director James Comey has said it again: according to the director, the "Ferguson effect," which makes police officers reluctant to take risks in the line of duty, is responsible for an upswing in murders.
The New York Times reports:
The director of the F.B.I. reignited the factious debate over a so-called “Ferguson effect” on Wednesday, saying that he believed less aggressive policing was driving an alarming spike in murders in many cities.
James Comey, the director, said that while he could offer no statistical proof, he believed after speaking with a number of police officials that a “viral video effect” — with officers wary of confronting suspects for fear of ending up on a video — “could well be at the heart” of a spike in violent crime in some cities.
“There’s a perception that police are less likely to do the marginal additional policing that suppresses crime — the getting out of your car at 2 in the morning and saying to a group of guys, ‘Hey, what are you doing here?’” he told reporters.
Mr. Comey was wading back into a dispute from last fall that pitted him against some of his bosses at the White House and the Justice Department and one that roiled racial tensions over confrontations between police officers and minorities.
. . .
Mr. Comey’s remarks were prompted by a private briefing he received on Wednesday about rising crime rates in more than 40 cities during the first quarter of 2016.
He said the new statistics, which have not been made public, showed a significant jump in murder rates in many cities. The numbers rose even more quickly than last year, Mr. Comey said. In 2015, rising murder tallies in Washington, Baltimore, Milwaukee, St. Louis and other cities made national news.
The New York Times says Comey's statements have "roiled" racial tensions? It was more the White House that "roiled racial tensions" through its clear sympathy with the Ferguson rioters, even though the shooting of a black teen by a white police officer that triggered the riots was deemed justified by a grand jury.
When it comes to criminal justice, the Obama administration's underlying theme seems to be that if members of a minority go to prison, it is because we live in a racist society, not because they gave broken the law. This very view taints those who uphold the law as racist.
This view has also made a dangerous but necessary job–policing–less respected and more dangerous. Ironically, it's people who live in low-income neighborhoods, where the police are badly needed, who suffer most consistently.
David French at National Review Online comments:
Yes, crime is a complicated, hard issue, but right now law enforcement is besieged by a movement that casts police as collection of racist villains, excuses the violence of high-crime communities, and does so on the basis of a series of monstrous (and now well-known) lies. Given the horrifying and increasing death toll in many of our nation’s cities, Black Lives Matter may be the most inaccurately named political movement in modern political history. Comey is raising the difficult questions. Will the Left have the courage to seek honest answers?