On Monday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot called on the federal government to help the city of Chicago combat crime and violence.
During a news conference, Lightfoot asked U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to send members of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to increase gun investigations and gun seizures.
She also asked for more federal prosecutors to handle the cases from the investigations and federal marshals to assist local law enforcement.
The Chicago Tribune reported that the number of shooting victims in Chicago this year is at 4,270, compared to 3,930 in 2020. Homicides rose from 749 in 2020 to 783 in 2021.
According to the Tribune, Lightfoot stated “Keeping you safe is my priority — not one of, but the first and primary priority”. “I wake every morning with this as my first concern and I push myself and all involved to step up and do more and better because we cannot continue to endure the level of violence that we are now experiencing”.
Last year, former President Donald Trump deployed 100 federal agents to Chicago to help combat rising crime rates.
Lightfoot had commented on the decision, saying “We welcome partnership, not dictatorship, and will never tolerate the kind of unconstitutional deployment and state-sanctioned lawlessness we saw in Portland”.
Then-Attorney General William Barr reported in September 2020 that homicide rates were down 50 percent after Trump’s decision.
Lightfoot said the city was “grateful for the additional federal charges and prosecutions” but claimed the violence had begun to subside before help from federal agents.