There is “little evidence” behind the FBI director’s notorious “Ferguson effect” according to the FBI director himself.
James Comey made the admittance at a conference in Chicago on Monday, after claiming that a recent increase in crime was linked to restraint on the part of the police. But Comey refused to go back on his statement, saying that it simply made “common sense,” according to the Guardian.
“The question is, are these kinds of things changing police behavior around the country?” said Comey. “The honest answer is I don’t know for sure whether that’s the case … but I do have a strong sense.”
The “Ferguson effect,” according to Comey, says that crime has risen because police are less vigilant when fearing scrutiny on the internet and in society. The theory is a reference to the unrest that was sparked in the wake of the death of an unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri last year. Several sources, including a report showing that police backlash did not cause an increase in violent crimes in St. Louis homicides last year, have debunked the theory.
“Part of the explanation is a chill wind that has blown through law enforcement over the last year and that wind is surely changing behavior...In today’s YouTube world, are officers reluctant to get out of their cars and do the work that controls violent crime?”
The White House, meanwhile, has already distanced itself from Comey’s statements. President Barack Obama’s press secretary said that the administration “does not support the notion that law enforcement officers around the country are shying away from fulfilling their responsibilities.”