Is Chicago worse than Afghanistan? Fact-checking President Trump’s critiques of the city

WGN Investigates
Data pix.

CHICAGO — President Donald Trump’s first visit to Chicago since taking office provided the perfect platform to reload and re-fire some of his favorite shots at the city.

Here’s a look how his claims compare to the facts:

Trump: “Over the last two years violent crime in America’s major cities has dropped, unlike here, by 10 percent.”

The president is technically right: FBI stats show overall violent crime in Chicago is down eight percent, not 10 percent.

But Chicago has made progress in fighting crime, specifically when it comes to murders. After a high of 599 killings in 2016, they’re back down to where they were four years ago.

Trump:  “Afghanistan is a safe place, by comparison, that’s true.”  

Solid figures are hard to come by for the country, but BBC research teams found 2,307 people died as a result of violence in Afghanistan in August alone. That's more homicides than occur in an entire year in Chicago, including last year when there were around 535 people killed.

Trump: “Chicago has some of the toughest gun laws in the United States."

That statement was true a decade ago, but federal court rulings and changes to the law have limited gun restrictions in the city.

Trump: “I’ve done more than any other president has done for the police”

The Trump administration has sent additional resources to combat crime in Chicago, including 12 new federal prosecutors who are specifically targeting gun violence and federal firearms prosecutions up 44 percent in Chicago

Chicago's problems can be "sorted out" quickly

The president re-told a favorite tale from when he was a candidate, saying he met an officer in Chicago while on the campaign trail that told him he could "straighten out" crime in the city in "one day, one week or one month."

While he's told the story repeatedly, he hasn't identified the person he says he talked to.  Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said the department did an exhaustive search to try to identify the person and couldn’t.  “That person just doesn’t exist,” Johnson said Monday.

WGN Investigates reached out to the White House Monday to ask for evidence proving the president’s claims, and they have not responded as of 3 p.m. Monday.


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