Seeking change: Milwaukee’s high crime statistics has city leaders looking for answers

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MILWAUKEE -- As the number of homicides in Milwaukee soars, city leaders are trying to get to the root of the causes in an effort to curb violence. The Public Safety Committee was presented with some shocking statistics about overall crime in our area.

The growing violence in Milwaukee is actually a national problem. Earlier this week, the Public Safety Committee called a special meeting which took about 4 1/2 hours. Nine different agencies talked about the possible causes, challenges and solutions.

"We have looked a holistic view of crime," said Milwaukee Alderman Terry Witkowski.

The Public Safety committee looked at crime in general and ways to improve conditions for people.

"We wanted the agencies present to think about what they are presently doing. What are they doing well and evaluate what they are doing and see if there is a different way to attack the problem," said Witkowski.

New statistics find the number of homicides in Milwaukee are up 11 percent compared to last year, the majority of them in District 7, 5 and 3.

Police say they're making arrests -- but then a different challenge comes up.

CLICK HERE to view MPD crime statistics, anti-violence strategies

"So far, we've seized close to 1,300 firearms which is higher than any number since 2007. I think some of our challenge is really what happened to the offenders once they are subjected to the available penalties. I've said for the last several years, the penalties for firearm possession are the weakest I've ever seen," said Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn.

City leaders say other departments must help break the cycle of violence. The statistics say a majority of the homicides were argument or fight related and frequently among African-Americans in poverty-stricken neighborhoods.

"What we know is the outcome and life expectancy outcomes in terms of pre-term birth and social and emotional determinants access to healthy food and other conditions, simply put, are people are worse off in those areas, we know these leading indicators of poor health outcomes are connected to poverty and low educational attainment," said Milwaukee Health Commissioner, Bevan Baker.

Currently, the police department does have special programs and intensified efforts in those problem areas. And the city also has block grant programs to work on community building.

Meanwhile, neighborhood services focuses on things like building deteriorating which play a role in the issue.

City leaders are really looking at all ways they can make a substantial change.


  • BDS

    Why does it take record levels of crime and violence before common sense kicks in and people start to question the liberal politics that have been failing us for so long?

    • Smedley Butler Jr.

      The answer is quite simple: rid the country of Blacks and the crime rate, especially the violent crime rate, would plummet. Crime does have a color.

  • Kerry

    1. How could the rise in crime rate from January-June last year to the same period this year only 11% when it is a rise from 34-75???
    2. Access to health food will reduce crime??
    3. Who is responsible for “low educational attainment”? I hope it is the students who don’t attend school and drop out the first chance they get.
    3. No mention of any deterrents regarding illegal possession of firearms.

  • Kerry

    Agree. The article suggests that fixing houses and providing health food will improve the situation. Many can buy health food with food stamps if they choose to rather than cigarettes and alcohol.

  • Tara Lenihan

    Wow, FOX6. Please hire my nine year old daughter to write for you. It’s difficult to take the news seriously when you’re trying to figure out what it’s supposed to say. Honestly, I’ve been wondering for years if you have an editor or if anyone can just post a story to be edited later.

  • ken

    The problem is not guns, it is solid families, solid 2 parent families in an area where there are very few. Families teach us respect and what is right and wrong. Sadly the fix will take 2-3 generations. The parents are not there and the stories I hear from teachers where junior high girls are being sexually abused and even pimped out, kids knowing that they can steal what they want because the most they will get is one night in jail. Police call it the gift that keeps on giving. If Barrett would bring in non profit leaders, police and teachers, he would see the family is the main problem in this battle ground. These people are being told their life is hopeless and they are believing it. They are being told they are too meaningless and small because the government and people like Al Sharpton have to be there to make a difference. They can fix themselves through good family values being brought back.

  • babarishka

    The answer is quite simple: rid the country of Blacks and the crime rate, especially the violent crime rate, would plummet. Crime does have a color.

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