As Chicago closed on one of its most violent years in decades, President-elect Donald Trump tweeted Monday the city should seek federal help if local authorities can’t handle the crisis.
“Chicago murder rate is record setting - 4,331 shooting victims with 762 murders in 2016,” Trump tweeted. “If Mayor can’t do it he must ask for Federal help!”
Data made available by the Chicago Police Department shows 2016 was one of the most violent years in the city since the mid ‘90s. While it wasn't a record, as Trump stated, Chicago saw 762 murders, 3,550 shooting incidents and 4,331 shooting victims in 2016.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office responded to Trump's tweet Monday.
"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 in a statement.
"We are heartened he is taking this issue seriously and look forward to working with the new administration on these important efforts," Collins added.
Emanuel met with the president-elect last month at Trump Tower in New York City, delivering a letter from mayors across the country calling for protections for young immigrants.
Over the course of the campaign, Trump repeatedly referenced Chicago’s violent crime.
“In Chicago, they’ve had thousands of shootings — thousands — since January first,” Trump said during the first presidential debate in September. “And I’m saying, ‘Where is this? Is this a war-torn country? What are we doing?’”
The Chicago City Council voted in November to remove honorary “Trump Plaza” street signs near the president-elect’s riverfront hotel and condominium tower as a response to the Republican's incendiary rhetoric about the city's violence.
Police Supt. Eddie Johnson told reporters Sunday he plans to hire nearly 1,000 more officers by the end of the year to help combat violence.
“If you give us the tools that we need to hold these individuals accountable, I promise you 2017 will be a much better, and safer, year for the city of Chicago,” Johnson said.
Besides hiring additional officers, the CPD also plans to fund economic growth and provide support for young men in violent neighborhoods, police said.
Johnson told reporters Monday that he hadn't seen Trump's latest tweet. The superintendent was on the scene of a fatal officer-involved shooting on the city's Northwest Side. In that case, a person was fatally shot Monday morning by an off-duty Chicago police officer in the Hermosa neighborhood.
On Sunday, “60 Minutes” aired a segment titled “Crisis in Chicago,” bringing renewed attention to the city’s murder rate and police department.