“People are strangers:” Chief Flynn shares what makes neighborhoods vulnerable to crime

MILWAUKEE -- After four separate shootings, two of them fatal, and one of them involving a child, occurring over 24 hours, Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn on Tuesday evening, August 1st shared an easy way you can help fight crime in your neighborhood. It involves meeting your neighbors.

Chief Flynn said a lot of the crime in Milwaukee this summer is happening in vulnerable neighborhoods, where people don't know each other. In Washington Park, during a National Night Out event, police worked to change that.

Monifa Johnson and her four children took an afternoon stroll on park paths transformed into a pop-up festival.

National Night Out

National Night Out

National Night Out

"We've had the tablets. We've had Starbucks, pizza, Wendy's, bubbles," they said.

This event was sponsored by Milwaukee Police Departments District 3 station. Officer Steven White greeted guests on a horse, and answered some tough questions.

"Does he eat hay?" a little girl asked.

"Yes ma'am, he does," Officer White said.

Officer Steven White

Officer Steven White

Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn

Other officers mingled with neighbors and handed out freebies. This, as Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn said one of the best ways to fight crime was on full display during this event.

"Crime prevention is about getting engaged with your neighbors," Flynn said.

The National Night Out event was held on the heels of four separate shootings. Two people were killed, and an eight-year-old girl was struck by a stray bullet. She's expected to be OK.

Chief Flynn said many of the crimes are happening in similar locations.

Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn

"Sadly the neighborhoods that, night after night are most bedeviled by what seems like senseless and random violence are often the neighborhoods with the least social capital. The folks don't know each other. People are strangers to each other, and that makes the neighborhood vulnerable," Flynn said.

Police are working to change that -- through events like the one in Washington Park Tuesday.

National Night Out

"Our challenge is to find opportunities to bring people together, to arm them with information and encourage them they need to work with us to create safe public places their kids can play," Chief Flynn said.

National Night Out events are happening throughout the week. CLICK HERE to learn more.