MPD: New safety strategy for Washington Park neighborhood

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Milwaukee is the recipient of a national grant designed to improve the city's Washington Park neighborhood. The Department of Justice will give the Milwaukee Police Department $600,000 over the next three years. The goal is to cut down on trouble spots in the Washington Park neighborhood.

Milwaukee police officials joined with representatives from community groups on Tuesday, April 23rd to decide how to best use a DOJ grant to improve the Washington Park neighborhood.

"We're hoping to address nuisance properties, nuisance locations, problem locations," Milwaukee Police Captain Michael Brunson said.

Captain Brunson says when it comes to crime, there are always three essential elements: offender, victim and location.

Captain Brunson says location will be MPD's focus. It is part of a strategy called "Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design" or "C-PED."

"We don't want to shut down stores. We don't want to shut down residential properties. What we want to do is work with the owners and landlords so they can contribute to the overall safety of the community," Captain Brunson said.

Neighborhood groups say in order to make that work, they will need to make sure residents are comfortable coming forward and saying which houses or businesses might be trouble.

"Then as we work with them, we talk to them and survey them about how many of their neighbors do they know? How many of their neighbors would they call in an emergency? How many of them call the police? Do they feel they can take action?" Barbara Notestein, Director of Safe & Sound said.

"We just wanna get people in the same room to talk to one another about what they're experiencing in the neighborhood and how we might want to work together to improve the quality of life," Matt Melendes with Washington Park Partners said.

The DOJ received 130 applications for the grant money. Milwaukee is one of 13 cities that will get some of it.

While the grant money will be used for the Washington Park community, MPD and LISC-Milwaukee (Local Initiatives Support Corporation) announced on Tuesday they are partnering to work throughout the city.