ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:
Last night, President Trump tweeted about Chicago gun violence, saying he'll send in the feds if the city doesn't fix the horrible carnage going on. Two-hundred-forty-seven people have reportedly been shot since the first of the year, 44 of them fatally. And that's a jump from last year's numbers. NPR's David Schaper reports.
DAVID SCHAPER, BYLINE: There's no question the tragic and intransient problem of gun violence weighs heavily on Chicago residents.
KEITH MUHAMMED: This is nothing new in Chicago.
SCHAPER: But it is worse than it's been in nearly two decades, especially here in the West Garfield Park neighborhood where 45-year-old Keith Muhammed lives. However, when President Trump tweets that he'll send in the feds, Muhammed is skeptical.
MUHAMMED: That's not going to stop it.
SCHAPER: Why not?
MUHAMMED: Because he needs to address the underlying issue. The feds or the police has nothing to do why people are killing.
SCHAPER: Muhammed and others say there's a sense of hopelessness among many in communities such as this that leads young people in particular to engage in violence. Its cause stems from decades of poverty, entrenched gangs, easy access to guns and a lack of economic opportunity.
So if Trump is talking about more federal resources for education, job training and economic development, Muhammed would welcome it. And so too would 46-year-old Willie Turner.
WILLIE TURNER: See; if there was more jobs out there, there'd probably be less crime rate out here.
SCHAPER: At Chicago's city hall, reaction to the president's tweet is somewhat cautious.
SCOTT WAGUESPACK: Well, I think we welcome help, but it can't be done in the form of a shallow tweet.
SCHAPER: Alderman Scott Waguespack...
WAGUESPACK: You know, if he wanted to come here and sit down with people and talk through what the needs are - they've sent help before in the form of ATF agents, and I think that's appropriate.
SCHAPER: The feds already help fight violence in Chicago with the ATF, the FBI, the DEA and the U.S. Attorney's Office combating gun and drug trafficking among other crimes. Waguespack and other city officials say they welcome additional agents and prosecutors in those offices if that's what President Trump is suggesting in his tweet. Here's another Alderman, Anthony Beale.
ANTHONY BEALE: Is he posturing - absolutely. But if he's going to posture to help reduce the crime in my community, let him posture. Bring the resources in to help save our children that are being killed every single day.
SCHAPER: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel agrees. The city could use more federal resources to fight violent crime and to hire more police officers. But Emanuel rejects the inference that the city needs the National Guard to help patrol Chicago's streets.
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RAHM EMANUEL: I'm against it, straight up.
SCHAPER: Emanuel says federal troops would undermine the city's efforts to restore the sorely lacking trust that is needed between Chicago police and many city residents.
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EMANUEL: It's antithetical to the spirit of what community policing is.
SCHAPER: And that does not appear to be what President Trump is suggesting. White House spokesman Sean Spicer says the president simply wants to start a dialogue with Mayor Emanuel. David Schaper, NPR News, Chicago.
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