In nearly two-dozen U.S. cities—including Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, and Las Vegas—the number of murders have spiked, in what FBI officials claim stems from an alleged “viral video effect.” Friday’s FBI data release showed upward trends in many cities; in others, like New York and Miami, they were down significantly over the past 12 months. Chicago posted the most dramatic increase in homicide numbers, with murders at 141, up from 83 in the same period last year. In Las Vegas, the numbers nearly doubled, hitting 40, compared to 22 last year. Dallas had a similar increase—46, up from 26. San Antonio, Phoenix, Memphis, and Jacksonville, Florida, all reported abrupt increases in the crimes.
FBI Director James Comey claimed Wednesday that a “Ferguson effect” could have made officers less aggressive out of fear they’d end up on video. But breaking from Comey’s assessment, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said “there is still no evidence to substantiate the claim that the increase in violent crime is related to an unwillingness of police officers to do their job.” He added that many officers don’t feel the need to decide between fighting crime fairly and doing so at all. “The truth is the vast majority of police officers do both,” Earnest said.