FBI Director James Comey told a meeting of police chiefs Monday that increased scrutiny is having an impact on law enforcement. He said he believes police have become more reluctant to aggressively pursue crime since the uproar over the death of Michael Brown and other high-profile cases.FBI Director Doubles Down On Linking Scrutiny Of Police With Rise In Violent Crime : The Two-Way : NPR
On Monday, FBI director James Comey reiterated that the rise of violent crime in certain cities may be a result of less aggressive policing due to increased scrutiny of officers in the wake of recent high-profile police killings of black men.FBI Director James Comey: Crime Spike May Be a Result of the 'Ferguson Effect' - The Atlantic
Repeating remarks he made last week, Comey said at the annual convention of the International Association of Chiefs of Police in Chicago that police and communities of color are "arcing apart" with every incident that involves police misconduct or an attack on law enforcement.
He said this growing separation can be seen in many different ways, one of which is through the lens of social media.
The Ferguson effect is the Bigfoot of American criminal justice: Fervently believed to be real by some, doubted by many others, reportedly glimpsed here and there, but never yet attested to by any hard evidence.FBI director concedes he has little evidence to support 'Ferguson effect' | US news | The Guardian
On Friday, FBI Director James Comey professed himself at least open to believing that the phenomenon—the idea that scrutiny of police since the death of Michael Brown in August 2014 has emboldened criminals and made police reluctant to effectively fight crime—is real. While there are plenty of experts who disagree, what makes Comey’s comments so rattling is that if there is an observable Ferguson effect, it may suggest that many law-enforcement agencies have come to rely on abusive or questionable practices, rather than developing other crime-control strategies that could be successful even under public scrutiny.
“The question that has been asked of me, is whether these kinds of things are changing police behavior all over the country,” Comey said during a speech at the University of Chicago Law School. “And the answer is, I don’t know. I don’t know whether this explains it entirely, but I do have a strong sense that some part of the explanation is a chill wind blowing through American law enforcement over the last year. And that wind is surely changing behavior.”
FBI director James Comey conceded on Monday that he had little evidence to support his theory that a recent increase in crime was caused by heightened scrutiny of the police, as the White House appeared to distance itself from his remarks.
Addressing police chiefs at a conference in Chicago, Comey said he could not be certain that the so-called “Ferguson effect”, following unrest in the Missouri city after the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black 18-year-old last year, had led to a retreat by officers, but said this was “common sense”.
“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.”