Gallup reports (Oct. 22, 2015) that Americans’ perception of the level of crime is up. Seventy percent of Americans say crime is up, a seven point increase in twelve months.
Gallup points out that public perception often doesn’t track crime statistics and is affected by gender (women tend to perceive crime rates higher) and partisanship (i.e., which party controls the White House). But, a Gallup analyst (Justin McCarthy) speculates it’s related to high-profile news reports of police shootings.
A different slant in this view was FBI director James Comey’s statement that highly publicized incidents of alleged police misconduct have led some officers to be less aggressive and a subsequent increase in the level of criminal activity. Other factors he cited were early releases of criminals from prison and cheaper street drug prices. President Obama and the White House were quick to downplay the “Ferguson effect” as unproven.
But the political implications for Democrats running for office, from local DAs to Hillary Clinton, have not been missed by the observations.
New York Times: F.B.I. chief links scrutiny of police with rise in violent crime
CNN: FBI chief tries to deal with the ‘Ferguson effect’
New York Post: Obama fuels the flames of the anti-cop movement
Gallup: Despite criticism, NRA still enjoys majority support in U.S.