‘All hands on deck’ as violence surges in Milwaukee

NOW: ‘All hands on deck’ as violence surges in Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- This year is on pace to be one of the most violent years in Milwaukee’s history, with five people killed since Friday alone.

“What we fear at MPD is this trend is increasing,” said Acting Milwaukee Police Chief Jeffery Norman.

Chief Norman called the surge in violence an all hands on deck situation. According to MPD, in 2021 there have been 47 homicides, compared to 45 by this time last year. There have also been 214 people injured in shootings this year, which is a 78-percent increase from 2020.

“What we are seeing is young people in particular losing their lives, often times after being involved in drug activities, robberies or other dangerous crimes,” said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

As summer approaches, community groups are working to get teens involved in programs to keep them off the streets.

“One of primary activities this summer is going to be, while we’re in the community having these conversations about resources, how we can drive our families and our youth toward the activities that are going to keep these kids engaged and safe?” said Joe’Mar Hooper, executive director of Safe and Sound.

Common Council President Cavalier Johnson says there also needs to be a focus on helping adults who are out of work.

“When people have access to family supporting jobs, and they’re able to stabilize their home and not work two and three jobs to make ends meet,” Ald. Johnson said.

City leaders add the community needs to step up and report illegal behavior. Community activist Tory Lowe says that’s a challenge because there’s a lack of trust in police.

“The trust between people and the police has been shattered for a long time and a lot of people just don’t trust the police for many, many reasons,” Lowe said.

Lowe says people are also struggling because of the pandemic, with more people anxious, depressed and out of work. He adds he’s concerned the surge in violence isn’t ending anytime soon.

“It’s gonna get worse,” Lowe said.

Tuesday Milwaukee police are having an emergency meeting with the Office of Violence Prevention and other community groups about this violence.

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