FBI director James Comey says violent crime is escalating in inner cities across the U.S. and that local and federal agencies need to band together to figure out the causes and how to stop it. Speaking in Cincinnati, Comey said that while many outside the inner city think they can avoid the issue by just “driving around” the affected areas, the escalating violence “affects younger men of color killing each other … and there are no lives that do not matter.” Through early September, shootings were up more than 30 percent in Cincinnati for 2015 compared to in 2014. Comey said Cincinnati isn’t alone seeing such a surge in violent crime, noting that other similarly-sized midwestern cities like Columbus, Milwaukee and Louisville are seeing similar trends along with large cities like Chicago and Washington, D.C.
Comey has no definitive reasons for the uptick in shootings, but said there are several potential factors including the ever expanding heroin epidemic, which Comey blamed on Mexican drug cartels that are growing pure heroin cheaply, offering addicts a less expensive alternative to pain pills. Comey sees no end in sight for the growth in heroin use “given the economics of the business right now.” He also cited the fact that many police and sheriff departments nationally are short-handed and a “YouTube” and “gangbanger” culture that treats guns as if they were fashion accessories. He pointed out that the increase in shootings has included a surge in multivictim incidents, meaning more shootouts. There were several such incidents in Cincinnati over the summer.