Trump says Chicago must seek U.S. help if
no progress cutting murders
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[January 03, 2017]
By Daniel Trotta
(Reuters) - 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!"
The president-elect correctly reported crime numbers published by the
Chicago Police Department on Sunday, but the figures were not
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
As candidate, Trump associated high-crime cities with their Democratic
leaders. Emanuel is a former chief of staff to Democratic President
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.
[to top of second column]
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, Florida, U.S.
December 31, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
"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
"We will make 2017 a safer year for the city of Chicago," Johnson
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.
(Reporting by Daniel Trotta in New York; Editing by Peter Cooney)
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