NY Times

FBI Director Says the Internet Is Driving Up Murder Rates

May 12, 2016  •  Post A Comment

FBI Director James Comey cited an alarming spike in murders in many cities, saying he believes it is driven by what he called a “viral video effect,” The New York Times reports. Comey’s comments Wednesday fueled an ongoing debate over what has been called the “Ferguson effect,” in which officers are said to be reluctant to confront suspects because they’re concerned about ending up in online videos.

Comey is quoted telling reporters: “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?’”

Comey noted that he had no statistical evidence, but said that after talking with police officials he came to believe that the effect “could well be at the heart” of increases in violent crime in some cities, The Times reports.

Comey “first raised the idea in October that a ‘chill wind’ had deterred aggressive policing,” the report notes. “But Obama administration officials distanced themselves from Mr. Comey at the time. They said they had seen no evidence to support the idea of a ‘Ferguson effect,’ named after the 2014 shooting by a police officer of an unarmed black man in Ferguson, Mo., which sparked widespread protests.”



  1. There may be a Ferguson effect, but I don’t see many videos where the police are treated unfairly by people on the street. However, I do see videos of policemen shooting people multiple times who are only coming towards them with a knife; or no weapon. If this internet phenomenon is so influential, police may want to start posting videos showing when they are helping people get out of flaming cars or pulling them from rivers or collapsed buildings. Those should vastly outweigh the bad ones and help getting the public to see the full picture of police work.

  2. James Comey is the biggest crock of steaming horse manure to come along since Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., played a ridiculous FBI-toady as Lewis Erskine in the 1960s. Comey apparently isn’t satisfied with spreading malicious fictions about cracking open iPhones.

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