City leaders, law enforcement and residents credit collaboration for the reduction in murders and carjackings
Compiled by MCJ Editorial Staff
The combined efforts of law enforcement, the city department of health, community-based organizations, and government—working together—is credited for a steady five year decrease in Milwaukee’s crime rate.
The decrease in crime has “dropped” the city out of the top 10 most dangerous cities in the United States. In 2018, Milwaukee was number 17.
Coupled with the winning strategy of partnership between government and residents has been methods the city’s police department adopted during those years of decline according to Mayor Tom Barrett and city government officials and community stake holders who announced the good news during a news conference in the rotunda of City Hall recently.
The key players in the decline: Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonzo Morales, Milwaukee Fire Chief Mark Rohlfing, Milwaukee Commissioner of Health Jeanette Kowalik, Reggie Moore, director of the city’s Office of Violence Prevention; and members of the organization 414 Life, were on hand for the announcement.
Violent crime has fallen 33%. The drop includes homicides, nonfatal shootings and carjackings. But the primary focus has been and is on decreasing the homicide rate.
Nonfatal shootings decreased from 558 in 2017 to 476 in 2018. Data for 2019 was unavailable. Carjacking decreased from 383 in 2018 to 346 in 2019.
Recent analysis of data for the last five years revealed what Milwaukee Police believe is the root cause of violent crime, domestic violence and gun violence.
Chief Morales said the key to continue the decrease in crime is better educational outcomes in the city’s schools and expanding economic opportunities, especially in neighborhoods still experiencing high levels of violence.
The chief said 40 percent of the city’s gun violence is concentrated in 14 neighborhoods. “The strategy is working, but we have a long way to go,” Morales reportedly said.
Aside from the teamwork being employed by city departments, community-based organizations, and concerned residents, Morales also credited a “strategic approach” to fighting crime.
The MPD is using what it calls the “Shoot Review Model,” an intelligence-led, data-driven, violence reducing strategy that collaborates law enforcement, researchers and community partners every time a shooting occurs in the city.
The police chief stressed another part of their approach is to focus on the “problem people”—the 10% who cause the majority of problems in the city.
But Morales said they still have a way to go before proclaiming victory, adding Milwaukee is still struggling to curb reckless driving. Seventy-five people were killed in Milwaukee County last year from a motor vehicle accident, according to media reports.
Moore said of the 97 homicides reported in 2019, eight of them were children under the age of 18. Five of those children where under the age of five.
Moore said every story, every survivor and every loss reminds them of what’s at stake if the city and residents fail to continue the momentum.