White House pledges aid to help Chicago quell violence
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel listens to remarks at a news conference in Chicago, Illinois, United States, December 7, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Young

President Donald Trump's vow to "send in the Feds" if Chicago is unable to cut shootings and killings is a pledge to provide law enforcement or other federal assistance so that the city's citizens will feel safe, the White House said on Wednesday.

"We'll hopefully get a dialogue started with Mayor (Rahm) Emanuel to try to figure out what a path forward can be so that we come up with a plan that can keep the people of Chicago safe," said White House spokesman Sean Spicer.

Emanuel told reporters that he has always welcomed federal help in Chicago and he would like to see the city's partnership with federal law enforcement agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Agency enhanced and strengthened.

"Chicago, like other cities right now that are dealing with gun violence, want the partnerships with federal law enforcement agencies in a more significant way," Emanuel said.

Emanuel added that he was opposed to deployment of the National Guard, which he said would be counterproductive to reinvigorating community policing in the city, calling it "antithetical" to these efforts.

"The National Guard has nothing to do with public safety," he said.

The mayor, who noted Chicago is not alone in seeing spiking crime rates, said the problem must also be addressed with programs for after-school activities, summer jobs, and mentoring, as well the "certainty of sentencing" at the state and federal levels for gun crimes.

Last year, the Midwest city of 2.7 million saw a surge of violence with 762 murders, an uptick of 57 percent from the previous year.

The mayor and Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson have said that those who commit shootings do not fear the repercussions due to lax sentences for gun offenders.

Trump has periodically cited Chicago's violence as an example of rising inner city crime. Urban violence, drug trafficking and poverty were recurring themes in Trump's campaign appearances.

(Story refiled to add missing letter to word "last" in paragraph 8)

(Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe and Timothy McLaughlin; Writing by Tim Ahmann and Karen Pierog; Editing by Eric Walsh and Lisa Shumaker)