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Gun violence in the US

Trump threatens to send 'feds' to Chicago over rise in shootings

The city, former president Barack Obama’s adopted home town, has the worst violent crime statistics of any major US metropolis

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 25 January, 2017, 2:33pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 25 January, 2017, 2:33pm

US President Donald Trump has threatened to send in the “feds” if America’s third-largest city of Chicago failed to bring its rampant crime rate under control.

The Republican, who made law and order a key issue in his White House campaign, cited the city’s latest shooting and homicide statistics as reported by the Chicago Tribune.

“If Chicago doesn’t fix the horrible ‘carnage’ going on, 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24% from 2016), I will send in the Feds!” Trump said in a post on his personal Twitter account.

The city, former president Barack Obama’s adopted home town, has the worst violent crime statistics of any major US metropolis.

It wasn’t clear if Trump meant he would federalise the local police force, send in federal reinforcements, or some other action. The Obama administration had already assigned dozens of federal agents to assist the city, including 52 agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and about 120 FBI agents.

On January 2 Trump tweeted that Mayor Rahm Emanuel - a Democrat who was Obama’s chief of staff during his first term - should ask for federal help if he was unable to stop the skyrocketing murder rate.

According to Chicago police statistics, 2016 was the city’s deadliest year in nearly two decades, with 762 murders and 3,550 shooting incidents.

Earlier this month, a spokesman for Emanuel’s office said that the mayor agreed that “the federal government has a strong role to play in public safety”, listing federal funding for summer jobs and at-risk youth, passing gun laws and “holding the criminals who break our gun laws accountable for their crimes”.

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Trump used the word “carnage” to characterise the United States in his inaugural speech, last Friday, although crime rates around the country remains low.

The FBI reported a 10.8 per cent single-year increase in homicides in 2015, largely due to violent crime in a handful of cities, including Chicago, Washington DC and Baltimore, while crime remained near historic lows in New York, Los Angeles and other cities.

During his campaign, Trump suggested that Chicago should use stop-and-frisk police tactics, a controversial practice that a federal judge in New York ruled unconstitutional in 2013.

Last week the justice department found that Chicago’s police were regularly responsible for using force that was “unjustified, disproportionate and otherwise excessive”

Agence France-Presse and The Guardian