The Trump administration has made good on President Donald Trump’s promise- or warning- made months earlier that he would “send in the Feds” to help reduce Chicago’s alarming murder rate and the city’s miserable statistics on shootings.
Authorities confirmed to local media on Thursday that around 20 additional agents with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives have been sent over to Chicago.
The new set of agents will be tasked to work with counterparts from the Chicago Police Department and Illinois State Police on a strike force to solve shootings ad arrest gun traffickers. Also part of the strike force is prosecutors from the U.S. attorney’s office and Cook County state’s attorney’s office who will make the decisions whether suspects in gun crime should face charges in the state of federal court.
Head of the Chicago Police Department’s organized crime unit Anthony Riccio said: “The goal is to prosecute as many of these guys as possible federally where they will serve longer prison terms.”
The strike force is operating on the basis of intelligence gathered from the National Integrated Ballistics Information Network (NIBIN), Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms’ ( ATF) digital catalog bearing the unique marks when bullets are fired, including fingerprints for guns.
The Chicago Police Department submitted last year information involving 11,000 bullets and shell casings to the NIBIN network system- the entries being almost equivalent to the combined entries bigger cities like Los Angeles and New York made.
The information in the database is crucial because they are used to compare bullets and shell casings recovered at crime scenes, as well as bullets test fired from guns used in crimes. The Chicago Police obtained nearly 1,500 hits linking guns to multiple crimes through NIBIN last year.
One 9mm gun has been linked to 28 shootings, including several murders. The strike force has also linked 14 different assault rifles to a series of gang-related shootings on the Southwest Side.
A spokesman for ATF in Chicago Dave Coulson said the ATF agents sent to Chicago are for the long haul. He said: “It’s long term. They’re here permanently. It’s not a flash-in-the-pan concept where they come here for a year and leave.”
It will be remembered that shortly after his inauguration, President Trump reacted on the alarming rate of violence and shootings in Chicago. He tweeted: “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!”
Trump also said earlier in January: “If Mayor can’t do it, he must ask for Federal help!”
The number of homicides in Chicago this year alone as of last month is around 200, with 23 people shot on one weekend in April alone.
(Previously on The Goldwater: https://thegoldwater.com/news/2648-Obama-Returns-To-Hometown-Chicago-Where-Murder-Rate-is-Pushing-200)