An anti-law enforcement backlash in the wake of deadly police encounters may be helping fuel a spike in violent crime, according to FBI chief James Comey.

In a speech at the University of Chicago Law School Friday, the agency’s director weighed in on the so-called Ferguson effect that supposedly makes police less aggressive and criminals more so, the New York Times reports.

“I don’t know whether that explains it entirely, but I do have a strong sense that some part of the explanation is a chill wind that has blown through American law enforcement over the last year,” Comey said.

The extra scrutiny and criticism of police comes in the wake of fatal encounters in Ferguson, Mo., Cleveland, New York and Baltimore.

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