(CBS) — President Trump was in Philadelphia today following his first interview with ABC News, where he took another swipe at Chicago crime.
“It’s horrible carnage. This is…Afghanistan is not like what’s happening in Chicago. People are being shot left and right,” he said.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: A Sunny Start
CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports.
Chicago civic leaders at the City Club disputed the president’s dire view.
“Chicago is not Afghanistan. It does make a good tweet,” said Urban League CEO Shari Runner.
“It does make good media play. But the city is not a war zone and we should not treat it as such,” she added.
But city club speakers don’t want to sugarcoat Chicago’s homicide problem. The city has seen a 58% spike in murders from 2016.
Jens Ludwig of the University of Chicago Crime lab said his group looked at data from the five largest cities in the US in the past 25 years.READ MORE: Hegewisch Woman Furious After Someone Pepper-Sprayed Her Dogs Through The Fence
“Not a single city has experienced a change of this size,” he said.
President Trump thinks the violence problem can be fixed by getting “tougher and stronger and smarter.”
In response to getting “tougher” on crime, Chicago Police Department Patrol Chief Fred Waller cracked a joke about the absence of his boss, Eddie Johnson, saying “he’s back at headquarters opening the waterboarding kit that Washington sent us.”
Congresswoman Robin Kelly has already gone directly to the top, inviting the new president to her district.
“He’s talking about carnage and this, that and the other. Let him meet some of the people, let him see what’s going on,” she said.
According to Ludwig, a quarter of Chicago’s murder suspects are under age 19, which is far higher than other cities.
This means mentoring programs, like those promoted by Mayor Emanuel, could make an impact.MORE NEWS: Chauncey Spencer II Takes To The Road With Stories Of African Americans In Flight, Including A Stop In Chicago
Three quarters of murder suspects are young adults as well, meaning better education, job training and access to actual jobs could benefit them.