New public safety initiative in Milwaukee

targeting urban hot spots


by Michele McCormack

MILWAUKEE-The following release was issued Tuesday night:

Community development leaders at Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and the Milwaukee Police Department announced a partnership to improve safety in targeted urban hotspots. The announcement was made at an event in Washington Park’s Urban Ecology Center on April 23rd to an audience of neighborhood and community agencies representatives, lenders, philanthropists, police, prosecutors and elected officials. Key presenters included: Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn; Assistant District Attorney Jacob Corr, Leo Ries, LISC Milwaukee’s Executive Director; Barbara Notestein, Safe & Sound; and Tina Brooks LISC National Executive VP.

“People want to open businesses and send their kids to school and shop in safe neighborhoods. It’s impossible to talk about neighborhood revitalization without tackling public safety,” said Leo Ries, Executive Director, LISC Milwaukee

The Milwaukee Police Department boldly contributed $50,000 to co-fund a position that will bring neighborhood developers together with police for safer streets. John Connelly was recently hired for this position. His job is to build greater alignment between community organizations, police, prosecutors, probation and parole agents and other stakeholders. Connelly previously worked for the Community Prosecution Unit program, a collaborative effort between the Milwaukee Police Department, Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office and community stakeholders.

“Everyone struggles with limited resources. But when we align resources and get everyone moving in the same direction, we see improved results,” said new Community Safety Coordinator John Connelly.

Alignment is already starting to pay off. Selected out of more than 130 applicants, Milwaukee became one of fifteen cities nation-wide to receive a Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation 2012 grant from the Department of Justice. The Milwaukee Police Department is the primary grantee and sub-grantees include LISC and Safe & Sound.  LISC led the application process resulting in $600,000 over three years for focused efforts in the Washington Park neighborhood.

Since 2005, LISC has invested more than $1 million in grants and $1 million in loans into the Washington Park neighborhood.  With LISC’s support, the Washington Park neighborhood developed a comprehensive Quality of Life Plan and created the Washington Park Partners, a coalition of neighborhood residents and agencies to oversee the plan.  Due to a clear plan and significant alignment of residents and agencies, Washington Park has started to attract new resource commitments including the Byrne Grant and a major commitment from Habitat for Humanity to build 150 homes.

One of Connelly’s first projects will be to bring in a Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) training to Milwaukee. CPTED training helps police and residents team up to research and create solutions for specific crime hot spots in their neighborhoods. The training focuses on changes that can be made to the physical, or “built” environment to make it more resistant to crime.



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