Help is on the way for Chicago, now that President Trump and Mayor Lori Lightfoot have agreed on plans to send 200 federal agents to the city to help rein in out-of-control violence. Let’s hope Gov. Andrew Cuomo remains right in waving off Trump’s offer to do the same for New York City.
Like several US cities, Chicago (already infamous for its Wild West climate) has suffered a furious upsurge in violence in recent weeks. On May 31 alone, 18 people were killed. This week, 15 were wounded at a funeral. Later, a 3-year-old was shot in the head.
The idea that a city facing such horrors would reject any help seems nuts, yet Lightfoot initially vowed to block the feds: “Under no circumstances will I allow Donald Trump’s troops to come to Chicago and terrorize our residents,” she tweeted.
Now, thank goodness, she says federal agents can come; “all resources will be investigatory in nature and coordinated through the US attorney’s office.”
It’s a good step, even if Lightfoot still felt the need for some anti-Trump pandering: “If there is any deviation from what has been announced,” she warned, “we will pursue all available legal options to protect Chicagoans.” (Memo to Lightfoot: Chicagoans already need protection, but not from Trump.)
The president has also sent agents to other cities plagued by bloodshed and turmoil as part of his Operation Legend anti-violence initiative, named for a 4-year-old fatally shot in Kansas City.
It remains to be seen how much good the feds can do, when mayors and local prosecutors (such as Chicago’s Kim Foxx) refuse to take a firm stand, even as bodies pile up.
Gotham itself has seen a surge in violence that Mayor Bill de Blasio seems unable to contain: Last weekend, shootings from Friday through Sunday spiked for the third straight week (with 22 incidents and 24 victims, versus just five and five in the same three days last year), despite weeks of vows by de Blasio that his “community violence-prevention measures” will roll it back.
Gov. Cuomo was wise to wave Trump off: He can first take steps like offering state help, as well as by telling de Blasio that his soft-enforcement policies aren’t cutting it.
We remain confident that the NYPD can do what’s needed to keep New Yorkers safe — if the politicians get out of the way.
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