CHICAGO — The head of the FBI says gun violence such as the wave being seen in Chicago can be easy to ignore for some because it often occurs in neighborhoods away from city centers.
Speaking to reporters Wednesday in Washington, FBI Director James Comey said violent crime is "a problem that most of America can drive around."
"From the Las Vegas strip, you can't tell that more than 60 people have been murdered in Las Vegas this year. From the Miracle Mile in Chicago, you can't hear the sounds of gun shots that have killed more than 200 people this year," he said.
"It's again happening in certain parts of the cities, and the people dying are almost entirely black and Latino men and we can't drive around that problem," he said.
Comey suggested that "viral videos" may be prompting police officers across the country to be less aggressive in doing their jobs.
"There is a perception that police are less likely to do the marginal things that suppresses crime — the getting out of your car at 2 in the morning and saying to a group of guys, 'Hey, what are you doing here?'" he said, according to media reports.
As for gun violence, "I was worried about it last fall. And I am in many ways more worried about it now," he said. "I don't know what the answer is. But, holy cow, do we have a problem," Comey said.
The head of the national Fraternal Order of Police dismissed the director's suggestion that police had pulled back.
"He ought to stick to what he knows," James O. Pasco told the told The New York Times.
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