Trump posted this tweet Tuesday night:
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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 25, 2017
The latest crime statistics from Chicago police show that so far this year, there have been 38 murders and 182 shootings.
In an interview with David Muir, Trump also said two people were killed in the city of Chicago during Obama's farewell speech on January 10. But according to Chicago police, there were no homicides on that day. Police said there were four shootings on Jan.10, but only one occurred in the evening at around 9:18 p.m., after Obama's speech was already over.
This isn't the first time President Trump singled out Chicago. He has tweeted about it before and talked about it on the campaign trail. But this tweet was the strongest and most direct so far.
What exactly he means by "send in the Feds," is unclear. The president did not define whether he meant sending more agents from the FBI, the ATF, the DEA or the National Guard. Many aldermen didn't know what to make of the tweet without more specifics from the president.
"We don't need tanks rolling down Ashland or Archer, what we need are programs that prevent violence, street level intervention," said Alderman Raymond Lopez (15th Ward).
"You have a responsibility to measure your words because they carry meaning. The inability for him to understand that issuing threats via tweet is juvenile," said Alderman Ameya Pawar (47th Ward).
"I don't know if he knows what the right approach is and what we really need, so there's concern about that," said Alderman Scott Waguespack (32nd Ward).
Deputy Mayor and Chief Neighborhood Development Officer Andrea Zopp sat down with ABC7 Eyewitness News to talk about the president's tweet.
"We've talked long and hard that policing is not the sole answer here. If they are going to have help, certainly federal support and prosecution. But also making sure that we have jobs programs, that we have infrastructure investment to create jobs. Those are the kinds of things that are really going to help on this issue," Zopp said Wednesday.
"I hope that the federal resources is money, not for a federal agents to go after people, but money to help to employ people," said Alderman Walter Burnett, Jr. (27th Ward).
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the federal government can help, especially when it comes to working on gun control.
"I would welcome...federal participation in working with law enforcement to deal with guns and gangs," Emanuel said.
"I think the mayor made it very clear that we welcome federal help in a number of critical areas, like jobs, like most importantly, supporting federal prosecution. The U.S Attorney's Office here has the lowest number of gun prosecutions compared to Gary, Baltimore, cities across the country. We would use that help and support," Zopp said.
Senator Richard Durbin tweeted his response Wednesday:
Martial law isn't an answer to Chicago gun violence—stopping flow of guns into dangerous hands & supporting local public safety efforts are— Senator Dick Durbin (@SenatorDurbin) January 25, 2017
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson released a statement Tuesday:
"As the mayor just said a few hours ago, the Chicago Police Department is more than willing to work with the federal government to build on our partnerships with the DOJ, FBI, DEA and ATF to boost federal prosecution rates for gun crimes in Chicago."
Father Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina Church has been very outspoken in the community, especially when it comes to gun violence. He said sending the National Guard is not the solution to the surge in violence.
Pfleger said Chicago needs resources in the form of jobs, economic development and stopping illegal gun trafficking.
"Well I get very concerned when Donald Trump just comes out with statements and tweets. What do you mean? You never come to Chicago. You've never talked to people to say, 'What do you see is the problem? What are the needs here?'" Pfleger said.
Many residents of Chicago said more federal funding to create job opportunities is a good step toward helping some crime-ridden neighborhoods.
"The biggest thing that we have to invest in is human capital," said Jonathan Todd, a resident of Chicago's Austin neighborhood. "We haven't done that in 20 plus years."
The social worker and longtime Austin resident said he welcomes almost any kind of federal help, as long as it means the National Guard will stay out.
"Educated people do not go around committing crimes," said community volunteer Cynthia Sandifer.
Sandifer has worked and attended church in Austin for more than 25 years and said any efforts by the Trump administration should be concentrated in bringing jobs to the community.
"I think if we were educated and had access to resources that we need that the crime rates would go down," said Sandifer.
The Chicago Police Department statistics show that Austin is one of the most violent neighborhoods in the city. In December, the West Side community ranked 14th among the city's 77 community areas for violent crime reports.
"We need money," said Todd. "We don't need the tweet."