During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump occasionally made mention of the gun violence Chicago continuously endures, and he said he would be the one to help reduce the city’s murder rate by “send(ing) in the feds” in order “to fix the horrible carnage.” On Friday, Trump said via Twitter that he was sending federal help.
Crime and killings in Chicago have reached such epidemic proportions that I am sending in Federal help. 1714 shootings in Chicago this year!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 30, 2017
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, it was confirmed on Thursday that about 20 agents with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) have traveled to Chicago on a permanent basis to help stop the violence. Those ATF agents have joined a team with officers from the Chicago Police Department and the Illinois State Police that will use ballistics technology to solve crimes and get gun traffickers off the streets.
U.S. attorney’s office prosecutors will also focus on whether suspects in gun crimes should be charged with state or federal crimes.
“The goal is the prosecute as many of these guys as possible federally where they will serve longer prison terms,” Anthony Riccio, who leads the Chicago Police Department’s organized crime unit, said via the Sun-Times.
The idea of a new strike force was reportedly born last November, and in March, a police official met with Attorney General Jeff Sessions in Washington, D.C. to discuss how to proceed.
According to the Sun-Times, there were about 760 killings in 2016, the deadliest year in Chicago in the past two decades. As of Thursday, 320 murders had been committed in Chicago this year, two less than at this same point in 2016.
Aside from the strike force and prosecution discussions, it’s unclear if Trump has other plans to intervene in Chicago’s gun problem.