“We’re having a crisis:” East side residents, fed up with crime, put alderman in hot seat

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

MILWAUKEE -- Those living on Milwaukee's east side, fed up over crime, put their alderman in the hot seat Tuesday, September 12th.

More than 1,000 people have signed an online petition demanding changes on the east side due to a spike in crime. However, the police department shared stats saying perception may not be reality.

From burglaries to attempted carjackings, victims of crime on Tuesday night filled the Plymouth Church in Milwaukee, and many said they're not happy with the response from the city.

"I've been maced -- punched in my face," a victim said.

"Everyone knows there is no prosecution going on. The judges are letting people off," a victim said.

East side crime meeting

East side crime meeting

Alderman Nik Kovac

From slow response times to lack of patrols, residents put Alderman Nik Kovac in the hot seat, as police officers from MPD's District 1 said perception may not be reality.

"I think because of social media things are blown out of proportion a little bit," Diana Rowe with the Milwaukee Police Department said.

Numbers provided by the police department show violent crime and auto thefts are down from 2016, and while theft is up, police said not a lot has changed in the last year.

"I can tell you we've had a good September so we may be flat at the end of the month," Rowe said.

"I don't care what the statistics are. We are really having a crisis on the whole east side," a victim said.

East side crime meeting

Many in the room still weren't happy, saying the numbers don't provide a picture of what's been happening over the last few years. Even a Milwaukee County judge on hand said prosecutions of juvenile offenders are down and smaller crimes aren't getting enough attention.

"Well the garages, even if they were left open, they can only be a burglarized if someone is around -- prowling around looking to burglarize them," a victim said.

Police believe citizens are better informed now with apps like Next Door and Facebook, and were adamant there hasn't been a large spike in crime on the east side, as residents asked police to take crimes like burglaries and calls regarding suspicious people more seriously.

Related to this story -- more than 1,000 have signed a Change.org petition demanding Milwaukee officials do something to stop car thefts and other crime. CLICK HERE to take a look at that petition.