Calls to end violence against children amplify after 1-year-old's death ruled homicide

NOW: Calls to end violence against children amplify after 1-year-old’s death ruled homicide

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A dramatic increase in violent crime is plaguing Milwaukee.

The latest data from Milwaukee police show 146 homicides so far this year. At least 15 were children.

The latest victim, a 1-year-old boy, who died days after police say he was abused.

Child homicides have a serious impact on families and the community.

Local leaders and activists are exploring ways to address the surge in violent crime.

Wednesday night, Oct. 6, the GOP candidate for governor is calling for new leadership.

Both Mayor Tom Barrett and gubernatorial candidate Rebecca Kleefisch said more policing is the solution, but right now it's unclear how they'll get there.

Meanwhile, local activists are taking to the streets to incite change.

"Once again it's a sad situation, a 1-year-old loses his life," said Justice Wisconsin community advocate Tory Lowe, talking about the death of 1-year-old Zion.

The young boy died Monday, six days after Milwaukee police said he was seriously abused.

A 32-year-old woman and 22-year-old man were arrested.

Lowe says the suspects are Zion's mother and her boyfriend.

Meanwhile, in the area where 11-year-old Ta'niyla Parker was shot before passing over the weekend at Sherman and Burleigh, activists with 414Life spent Wednesday canvasing to let people know about violence prevention resources as they say it's been a hot spot for violence against young people.

"So this is one of our newer target areas, and we want to establish that trust and that care and that love, just to have the neighborhood, just to have the neighborhood get familiar with us," said 414Life Outreach Supervisor Stephen Hopkins.

Wednesday, gubernatorial candidate Rebecca Kleefisch said Mayor Barrett needs to step up, saying in a statement:

"If we want to stop crime in Wisconsin's largest cities from spilling into the rest of the state, we need to get serious about this problem now. That means we need to hire more law enforcement officers…"

Barrett said that's not possible without funding from the state, something he says has dried up.

"If you are not being our partner, then don't stand there and say you support the police while trying to strangle this community fiscally," said Mayor Barrett.

Activists said they're after funding as well, to try and directly address the issues in their communities.

"We have to continue to pour resources into our communities, and that happens on the city budgets, it happens when we have foundations that are given money, so continue to pour resources into violence prevention efforts," said 414Life Community Engagement Coordinator Jessica Butler.

CBS 58 reached out to Kleefisch to see what she had to say about Mayor Barrett's comments Wednesday. She wasn't available.

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