Donald Trump should be calling in federal funding for Chicago

Instead of threatening to call in federal agents, it’s time the president sends federal assistance


Photo by submitted

Over 32 percent of Chicago’s homicides occur within five neighborhoods containing only eight percent of the city’s population.

Last Tuesday, President Donald Trump threatened to intervene in Chicago’s law enforcement via Twitter, writing, “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!”

While the tweet may have been Trump’s way of acknowledging Chicago’s rising gun violence, it lacked the tangible action and assistance the city direly needs. Just yesterday, the Chicago Sun Times reported updated gun violence numbers; 296 people have been shot in Chicago, resulting in 52 deaths.

Unlike television dramas and movies where someone yells “It’s the Feds!” and criminals scatter in every direction, Trump’s threat didn’t eradicate crime in Chicago. His tweet saved no lives, stopped no shootings and was nowhere near enough to save the city.

But in a small way, it was a start.

Similar to many major cities in America, the federal government is heavily involved in Chicago’s attempts to fight the violent crime and “carnage” throughout the city. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has a number of units within the city, including a cold-case homicide squad and the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives.

Despite this assistance, men on the ground and federal agents are just surface level solutions to the problem Chicago faces. The city doesn’t need the “Feds,” the city needs funding, badly.

Chicago’s Mayor, Rahm Emanuel, is not short on ideas to help improve the city. On WTTW’s “Chicago Tonight,” Emanuel said the federal government could help Chicago through assisting the neighborhoods hit hard by poverty, which become a breeding ground for violence.

“Over the years, the federal government stepped back their resources, which we have stepped up,” Emanuel said. “The federal government can be a partner, and to be honest, they haven’t been for decades.”

According to an article in the New York Times, killings in Chicago happen on uneven turf, within neighborhoods that are poor and severely segregated on the South and West sides of the city.

Segregated minority neighborhoods face multiple adversities other neighborhoods don’t. Poverty, joblessness and inadequate housing plague neighborhoods leading residents to be more cynical regarding the law and distrust police, which in turn, increases crime.

In September 2016, Mayor Emanuel announced a $36 million initiative to support mentoring throughout the city in an attempt to bring support and stability to children growing up in tough neighborhoods.

While it will take more than money to solve the age-old problems that plague Chicago’s low-income neighborhoods, it’s a step in the the right direction toward getting children off the streets and out of crime.

Over 32 percent of the city’s homicides occur within five neighborhoods, which contain merely 8 percent of the city’s population, according to the Chicago Tribune.

For every day spent tweeting about the problem, another shooting occurs and the cycle continues on – but it doesn’t have to.

Instead of increasing the number of officers and agents in Chicago, attempting to simply bandage the problem for later, it’s time the federal government gets to the root of the issue and starts distributing federal funding where it counts.

While Donald Trump’s “call in the Feds!” threat remains unclear, one thing is certain: Chicago needs help, and it’s time the federal government takes action.

Put your money where your mouth is, President Trump; call in the feds.