What’s led to spike in violent crime? Viral videos of police brutality, of course! FBI head says

© Kevork Djansezian
What could possibly be behind the surge in violent crime in the US? Quite surprisingly, according to FBI Director James Comey, the answer is – citizens filming viral YouTube videos of police brutality.

“I’ve been told by a senior police leader who urged his force to remember that their political leadership has no tolerance for a viral video,” Comey said as he was talking to law students, faculty, staff and some police officers at the University of Chicago Law School, according to the New York Times.

He went on to say that such statements have sent a chill through police departments, making cops feel “under siege.”

“In today’s YouTube world, there are officers reluctant to get out of their cars and do the work that controls violent crime,” he said. “Our officers are answering 911 calls, but avoiding the informal contact that keeps bad guys from standing around, especially with guns,” Comey said, as reported by the Chicago Sun-Times.

According to the FBI director, this has had a negative effect on law enforcement’s ability to reduce crime, because “what may appear on YouTube to be police officers harassing people on the street is actually genuine crime deterrence,” reported The Daily Dot.

“Lives are saved when those potential killers are confronted by a police officer, a strong police presence, and actual, honest-to-goodness, up-close ‘What are you guys doing on this corner at 1 o’clock in the morning?’ policing,” he went on to say, adding “We need to be careful it doesn’t drift away from us in the age of viral videos, or there will be profound consequences.”

READ MORE: Video of cops tasing handcuffed man goes viral on Twitter, police say suspect tried to escape

The FBI Director arrived in Chicago for a Conference of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. His statements came during a discussion on the “crisis of violent crime” at the University of Chicago Law School, in which he talked about the factors fueling the recent crime spree.

Homicides in 35 big US cities are up 19 percent on average this year, and non-fatal shootings are up 62 percent, according to a police association survey.

However, another issue on the table remains police brutality: the number of police killings so far in 2015 has been estimated at up to 891 as of October 9, according to The Guardian.

Nevertheless, only 54 officers have been charged for fatal shootings during the last decade.

When the Washington Post analyzed what had brought those cases to court, they concluded that in order for police officers to be indicted, some kind of special circumstances must be involved, such as a victim shot in the back, incriminating testimony from other officers, allegations of a cover-up, or a video recording of the incident.

LISTEN MORE: