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FBI Chief Links Spike in Crime to ‘Ferguson Effect’

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SACRAMENTO--

Sacramento demonstrators protested the shooting death of 12-year-old Cleveland boy Tamir Rice Monday. Rice was killed while holding a fake gun in November of 2014.

As they stood outside of the Sacramento Sheriff's Department on Monday chanting, Sacramento police stood by peacefully, across the street.

Since Ferguson, protests like this are the new normal. What isn't normal, is how some law enforcement agencies are approaching the job, said FBI Director James Comey who calls it the "Ferguson effect."

"In today's YouTube world, are officers reluctant to get out of their cars and do the work that controls violent crime?" Comey asked at the International Association of Police Chiefs meeting in Chicago.

Former Sacramento Sheriff John McGinness agrees, and adds  that every cop is just one cell phone click away from losing their job for simply doing their job.

"Nobody wants to be that guy or gal, at the top of the broadcast news, setting themselves up for public excoriation," McGinness said.

The result, McGinness said, is a softer approach to enforcing the law. An approach that over time, he says, will have safety consequences in our society.

"Passive law enforcement is not effective in keeping society safe," McGinness said.

But activists say, neither are bullets.

"I know that for decades, people have been getting killed by police. That's wrong. Period," activist Tanya Faison told FOX40.

Comey linked the so-called "Ferguson effect" to the rise in violent
crime this year in cities across the country.

In Sacramento, crime is up by 24 percent since this time last year.