Illinois

Despite Trump tweet, anti-violence options for feds limited

FILE - In this Sept. 21, 2016, file photo, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson speaks during a news conference in Chicago. One of the bloodiest years on record in Chicago ended with 762 homicides and more than 3,500 shooting incidents, in 2016, according to crime statistics released by police on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Tae-Gyun Kim, File)

FILE - In this Sept. 21, 2016, file photo, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson speaks during a news conference in Chicago. One of the bloodiest years on record in Chicago ended with 762 homicides and more than 3,500 shooting incidents, in 2016, according to crime statistics released by police on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Tae-Gyun Kim, File)  (The Associated Press)

President-elect Donald Trump isn't the first to broach the idea of the federal government stepping in to help stem deadly violence in Chicago. But now, as on earlier occasions, what more it can do isn't at all clear.

Trump said on Twitter this week that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel should ask for federal help if he can't lower a homicide count that hit 762 in 2016. That's the most killings in Chicago in two decades.

The current U.S. attorney in Chicago, Zachary Fardon, came under pressure when he took the post three years ago to do more to stem city violence. His office has sought to indict more felons on gun charges and to convict more leaders of violent street gangs.

But prosecutions can sometimes make violence worse. Gang experts widely agree the prosecution of gang bosses sometimes leads to more inter-gang rivalry and, therefore, to more violence.