Crime data released by the FBI this week showed that murders in the United States rose 6.2 percent in the first six months of last year.
The Wall Street Journal reported:
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Violent crime overall increased 1.7%, the FBI found, while property crimes decreased 4.2%, compared with the first six months of 2014. Police chiefs from around the country had warned about an apparent surge in recent months. The rise in murders is largely due to increases in two parts of the country: the Midwest, which saw a 9.9% rise, and the South, which saw an 8.6% rise. The Northeast and West saw more modest rises of 1.3% and 1.6%, respectively.
The data, released Tuesday, comes months after FBI Director James Comey suggested that the so-called "Ferguson effect"–named after the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, over the shooting of Michael Brown–was causing spikes in violence across the country and prompting police to become more reluctant to do their jobs.
"Far more people are being killed in America’s cities this year than in many years. And let’s be clear: far more people of color are being killed in America’s cities this year. And it’s not the cops doing the killing," Comey said during a speech in October.
Comey’s comments last year about the widening divide between law enforcement and anti-police activists appeared to draw ire from President Obama. Chuck Rosenberg, the acting head of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), also agreed with Comey that the "Ferguson effect" was making police reluctant to engage with suspects.
A spokesman for the Justice Department told the Journal that it was "too early to draw any long-term conclusions" from the data released Tuesday.
"The Justice Department is acutely focused on the increases being experienced in some communities of the country. This is why several months ago the department intensified its efforts to identify and combat violent crime," Patrick Rodenbush, the spokesman, said.