Trump calls for 'federal help' to combat Chicago’s murder rate

© REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst File Photo: U.S. President-elect Donald Trump talks to reporters as he and his wife Melania Trump arrive for a New Year's Eve celebration with members and guests at the Mar-a-lago Club in Palm Beach
Trump says Chicago must seek U.S. help if no progress cutting murders

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump said in a Twitter message on Monday that Chicago's mayor must ask for U.S. government help if the city fails to reduce its homicide rate, which hit a 20-year high in 2016.

The city responded that Trump and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel had previously spoken and agreed to ways the federal government could help.

"Chicago murder rate is record setting - 4,331 shooting victims with 762 murders in 2016. If Mayor can't do it he must ask for Federal help!" Trump tweeted.

The president-elect correctly reported crime numbers published by the Chicago Police Department on Sunday, but the figures were not record-setting.

Although up about 60 percent from the previous year, the 762 homicides in 2016 were the highest annual toll since 1996, when there were 796, according to police data.

During the presidential campaign, Trump periodically referred to Chicago, America's third most populous city, as an example of rising inner-city crime, which ticked up nationally in 2016 after a two-decade downward trend.

As candidate, Trump associated high-crime cities with their Democratic leaders. Emanuel is a former chief of staff to Democratic President Barack Obama.

A spokesman for Emanuel welcomed the prospect of working with Trump once the Republican takes office on Jan. 20, but noted Trump and Emanuel had already spoken on the issue. The two met in New York in December.

"As the president-elect knows from his conversation with the mayor, we agree the federal government has a strong role to play in public safety," spokesman Adam Collins said in a statement.

Collins said the federal government could help by passing stricter gun laws, improving cooperation between federal and local law enforcement and funding programs for at-risk youth.

"We are heartened he is taking this issue seriously and look forward to working with the new administration," Collins said.

Chicago has outlined plans to reduce violence, including the scheduled hiring of 970 police officers over the next two years to raise the total to 13,500.

Police in Chicago made more gun arrests in 2016 than in New York and Los Angeles combined, Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said on Sunday.

"We will make 2017 a safer year for the city of Chicago," Johnson told reporters.

Johnson said he would lobby the Illinois legislature to reform sentencing guidelines for repeat gun offenders. Police would also focus on "targeted, data-driven enforcement" and make community policing "a department-wide philosophy," Johnson said.


Trump: Chicago mayor should ask feds to help combat homicides

President-elect Donald Trump said Monday that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel should seek federal assistance to combat homicides in the nation's third-largest city.

"Chicago murder rate is record setting - 4,331 shooting victims with 762 murders in 2016. If Mayor can't do it he must ask for Federal help!" Trump tweeted.

Trump's tweet accurately relayed Chicago's homicide numbers. And while they are not "record setting," The Chicago Tribune reports that homicides were up 60% from 2015 to the highest levels in 20 years.

Emanuel, who was President Barack Obama's chief of staff from January 2009 to October 2010, met with Trump in New York last month, urging the President-elect to continue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program until a modernized immigration system can be decided by Congress.

Emanuel's administration said Monday it looks "forward to working with" Trump on crime.

"As the president-elect knows from his conversation with the mayor, we agree the federal government has a strong role to play in public safety by funding summer jobs and prevention programming for at-risk youth, by holding the criminals who break our gun laws accountable for their crimes, by passing meaningful gun laws, and by building on the partnerships our police have with federal law enforcement," said Adam Collins, Emanuel's director of communications, in a statement following Trump's tweet.

He added: "We are heartened he is taking this issue seriously and look forward to working with the new administration on these important efforts."

The Trump transition team did not immediately respond to a request for comment about what federal help his administration might offer Chicago to combat homicide.

But California Republican Rep. Darrel Issa told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on "The Situation Room" that Emanuel needs to communicate with Trump to combat crime.

"What Rahm needs to do is he does need to work with President-elect Trump when he's President and ask for the federal help that will allow him to break up these pockets of very bad people and let his police work on commuting policing," he said. "This combination works."

This isn't the first time Trump has talked about Chicago's crime rate. Often on the campaign trail, Trump would mention Chicago while suggesting that controversial tactics such as stop-and-frisk could help address the issue.
"A policy like stop-and-frisk could save thousands of lives in a city like Chicago, just like it saved thousands of lives in New York. Overwhelmingly, this will save African-American and Hispanic lives -- citizens who are entitled to the same protections as every American," Trump said during a September rally in Florida.

While stop-and-frisk policies are used in various US cities, the aggressive implementation of stop-and-frisk in New York was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge in 2013, who said the policy violated the rights of minorities who were disproportionately targeted.

The focus on Chicago homicides comes as Obama is set to deliver his farewell address to the nation on January 10 from his home city, he announced Monday.

"I'm thinking about them as a chance to say thank you for this amazing journey, to celebrate the ways you've changed this country for the better these past eight years, and to offer some thoughts on where we all go from here," Obama said of his planned Chicago farewell speech.


Trump calls for ‘federal help’ to combat Chicago’s shockingly high murder rate

WASHINGTON — President-elect Donald Trump took to Twitter Monday to fire off some new domestic and international policy.

Chicago’s soaring murder rate and North Korea’s claim to have a nuclear weapon that can reach the U.S. were both fodder for Trump tweets — as were his gripes about a cover photo used by CNN on its new book about the 2016 presidential race.

He started the day with an upbeat message about welcoming 2017.

“Well, the New Year begins. We will, together, MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” he tweeted.

That was followed three hours later with a tweet about Chicago’s bloody 2016.

Trump suggested that the federal government should get involved to help Chicago combat its sky-high murder rate.

Chicago had more homicides than New York and Los Angeles combined in 2016 — and the overwhelming majority of the deadly shootings occurred in the same five neighborhoods.

Police officials in Chicago said the murder spike was gang-related, and most of the homicides weren’t random shootings.

“Chicago murder rate is record setting — 4,331 shooting victims with 762 murders in 2016. If Mayor can’t do it he must ask for Federal help!” Trump tweeted Monday afternoon.

But he didn’t offer any specifics on what kind of support his administration would give — even though he’s touted his ability to fix America’s “dangerous” cities on the campaign trail.

“We have a situation where we have our inner cities — African-Americans, Hispanics are living in hell because it’s so dangerous," Trump said at the first presidential debate in September.

“You walk down the street, you get shot. In Chicago, they've had thousands of shootings, thousands since January 1. Thousands of shootings. And I say, where is this? Is this is a war-torn country? What are we doing?” Trump railed.

His vague tweet could be read as a promise of more federal funds for Chicago — or a suggestion that the city’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel call on the National Guard to restore order, a move the Democrat is unlikely to do.

Chicago’s murder surge — up from 485 homicides in 2015 — is the largest spike in 60 years.

The nation's third largest city also saw 1,100 more shooting incidents than it did in 2015. There were 3,550 in 2016, compared to 2,426 in 2015.

Instead of calling in the feds, Chicago might want to call in the NYPD.

The Big Apple’s murder rate fell by roughly 5%.

New York had 335 murders in 2016 — down from 352 in 2015.

New York also held the number of shooting incidents to under 1,000 for the year — a major achievement for the NYPD.

The city closed out 2016 with 997 shooting incidents, compared with 1,124 in the same period in 2015 — a 12% drop.

Compared with 2014, shootings are down almost 14% — or 1,154 to 997.

A rep for Mayor Emanuel responded to Trump’s tweet by stressing the need for gun control reforms and federal programs that can help the city.

“As the President-elect knows from his conversation with the mayor, we agree the federal government has a strong role to play in public safety by funding summer jobs and prevention programming for at-risk youth, by holding the criminals who break our gun laws accountable for their crimes, by passing meaningful gun laws, and by building on the partnerships our police have with federal law enforcement,” Emanuel spokesman Adam Collins said.

“We are happy he is taking this issue seriously and look forward to working with the new administration on these important efforts,” Collins added.

Trump also took to Twitter to take aim at North Korea — vowing the rogue nation won't go far with the international ballistic missile it says it's developing.

“North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the U.S. It won't happen!” Trump tweeted.

Thirty minutes later, Trump put the onus on China to pressure North Korea.

“China has been taking out massive amounts of money & wealth from the U.S. in totally one-sided trade, but won't help with North Korea. Nice!” he followed up.

The tweets were in response to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s Sunday comments that Pyongyang plans to test an intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach the U.S.

The country has repeatedly threatened to attack America, and while it has never flight-tested a weapon, it’s been ramping up nuclear tests over the past decade.

In between sounding off on domestic and world issues, Trump took time to comment on a new book that features a picture of him on its cover.

“@CNN just released a book called “Unprecedented” which explores the 2016 race & victory. Hope it does well but used worst cover photo of me!,” Trump complained.

The book — titled with a word Trump infamously misspelled on Twitter — came out Dec. 6.

Trump followed up his complaint with more boasting about his surprising win election night.

“Various media outlets and pundits say that I thought I was going to lose the election. Wrong, it all came together in the last week and.....I thought and felt I would win big, easily over the fabled 270 (306). When they cancelled fireworks, they knew, and so did I,” he wrote over two tweets, referencing Democratic rival Hillary Clinton's canceled plans for victory fireworks over the Hudson River.

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