F.B.I. Director James Comey stated that there appeared to be a link between the increased scrutiny of police officers nationwide and the uptick in violent crime.
The link focused on officers' reluctance to engage in aggressive policing practices, tactics often cited as partly responsible for reducing crime.
"I don’t know whether that explains it entirely, but I do have a strong sense that some part of the explanation is a chill wind that has blown through American law enforcement over the last year," Comey said.
This theory falls in line with what law enforcement leaders throughout the nation have been arguing: that as officers have pulled back for fear of public scrutiny, criminals have become more emboldened.
Scott G. Erickson, President of Americans in Support of Law Enforcement, wrote earlier this year in the Orange County Register, "Police officers are retreating from the proactive policing tactics that have contributed to a historic drop in crime over the past 20 years. The result: an emboldened criminal element."
Erickson continued, "Unfortunately, in today’s political climate a greater number of officers are deciding that the risks to their reputations and livelihood are simply too great to engage in the type of proactive policing that has been so effective at reducing crime."