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“Serious problem:” City of Milwaukee commits resources to track repeat juvenile offenders

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MILWAUKEE -- Two Milwaukee police officers will now be tracking juvenile offenders as they work their way through the juvenile justice system. The goal is to get to the bottom of why so many kids get arrested again and again.

Tom Barrett

Tom Barrett

"We have a serious problem with repeat offenders who are stealing cars, riding in cars, carjacking," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

Many times the thief behind the wheel is only 16 years old or younger.

"A lot of these kids don't even have a driver's license and are not legally able to drive," Barrett said.

It is a problem that has gotten progressively worse.

Between January 1st and February 22nd this year, 86 juveniles have been arrested for operating a vehicle without owner's consent. Over the same time period last year, the number was 51. Compared to 2011, the current number of kids being arrested for that offense has gone up 330 percent.


"We are doing these kids no favors and we are doing the public a grave injustice if they are allowed to repeatedly steal vehicles and not face consequences," Barrett said.

That is why Mayor Barrett is announcing plans to have two analysts from the Milwaukee Police Department dedicated to tracking repeat offenders as they wind their way through the juvenile justice system.

Tom Barrett

Tom Barrett

"We do not know exactly where the problem is occurring," Barrett said.

They are hoping the data can help them figure out what it will take to get these kids to choose a better path.

"I'm going to just keep working at this until we find out why we don't have the sanctions that we need for these repeat offenders," Barrett said.

Barrett tells FOX6 News this is about optimizing the coordination between the different parts of the juvenile justice system -- the police, the district attorney, the courts, etc. -- to make sure these kids are not slipping through the cracks and continuing to commit crimes.


  • Mr. McDonald's

    The solution is simple. Make these kids accountable for their actions and stop giving them 2nd,3rd, 4th chances. This state is ran by idiots. No wonder we are #17 most dangerous city in the USA. Morons.

  • Opinion8d

    What a complete dumba$$ to come up with this -it’s all politics to make it seem like he is doing something. You want to do something Mayor -give the police the support they need to catch these criminals and don’t back down when your inner city ‘voters’ riot. They know what the problem is -my god, he’s in charge of the city -the police, the DA, and yet he ‘doesn’t know’? Didn’t this same guy just blame the judges for lenient sentences last month and now he’s wondering where the problem is? Great use of resources TOM!!!

  • Cameron

    They aren’t “slipping through the cracks”. They are slipping out of the court room with a slip on the wrist or GPS monitoring bracelets that are all the rage these days. They cut them off, they show them off. There is one juvenile in particular that is a repeat offender and shows off his endeavors on FB. Himself in a stolen car with a gun…you can even see the license plate. A picture of himself pointing a gun at the camera. I’m not a police officer and I can find this stuff with relative ease. Why can’t the police? This kid continues to show up at schools in stolen vehicles doing doughnuts in the parking lot. He shot off his firearm driving past a group of kids. How much more blatant does he have to be to get apprehended? Oh, I know, he will one day crash and kill an innocent person and Barret and Chief Flynn will hold a news conference ranting and shrugging their shoulders. This is complete and utter bullcrap. They can’t find these juveniles. Oh hey, open your eyes and when you catch them, don’t release the to their incompetent family members. They are acting like it’s so difficult to find them. Hey, maybe, oh I don’t know, TRY???

  • Charles

    LMAO@ ” We don’t know exactly where the problem is occurring.”
    I see why this city has fallen so far downhill!

  • A yooper

    It should be rather simple to track them when they are surrounded by 20′ tall electric barbed wire. At the same time lets show them that there is life besides being a going nowhere thug. I bet quite a few could see the light if we could show them. Just lockup with no guidance will not help. Training in skills as in welding, construction, landscaping, so many things that are needed. At times I do feel the despair that these kids grow up in. The days of ever getting a factory job that pays well with minimal skills are gone. Instead of spending millions on a bus on tracks (as in trolley) lets invest it in some of these inner city youth. without some decent leadership they will just continue spiral down to long term prison.

    • Michael Neils

      Yooper they do not WANT to work. Pop in prison (most of them) Mom gets paid by taxpayers to have baby after baby-no one works. You can sling or traffic for big $ (big risk) but to them that beats getting up at o dark thirty to be applying for jobs they will not get as they have records and cannot pass a drug test. AND if by a miracle they DO get a job, they will stop showing up, or show up lit, or late or leave early etc etc. Govm has tried baby classes, job training, free cribs, free food, free medical care etc. so there is no background of self worth and respect for anyone. Just take and if it’s not enough steal. It would be nicer to swoop out the good egg kids and help them. Thugs be thugs. lock em up.

  • Shay

    I am not interested in having two full time police officer positions delegated to data analysis, to determine WHY these kids are reoffending. I want them out there, getting criminals in custody and making our streets safe again. You want data analysis and information? You can get it for free by telling us where to send the things we see on social media.

  • wow crazy idea

    they’ve probably been punished with an unstable life (and chances are an unstable future) anyways. treat the root causes, not just throw more kids in the slammer. their parents and neighborhood probably need more resources/aid/jobs with livable wages. I know these kids have hurt people. And they’ll reap what they’ve sewn soon enough. But let’s not be blind to environmental factors.

  • Ralph

    Well Tom, this is easy. Its the cars fault. Just like the guns. We need to get the bad cars off the street and lock them up in the auto salvage yard.

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