City leaders look to enhance violence prevention programs

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee has doubled the number of homicides reported at this time last year, with police responding to at least 28 homicides so far in 2022.

Acting Mayor Cavalier Johnson joined Director of the Office of Violence Prevention Arnitta Holliman and other community members for a violence prevention walk Wednesday, Feb. 9, that started at 1919 W North Avenue and ended at the acting mayor's former childhood home near 21st and Wright. It's outside that home where the acting mayor signed a file allowing the city of Milwaukee to receive $8 million from the state allocated to help with violence prevention programs.

"I'm eternally grateful for the governor of the state of Wisconsin, Tony Evers, for allocating dollars to us so that we can address issues around violence prevention," Acting Mayor Johnson said. "These are efforts that we'll have to engage in for some time."

The money is coming from the American Rescue Plan Act, allowing for the city to make investments in violence prevention. Along with that funding, Mayor Johnson said the city has allocated $3 million to assist with the efforts.

Holliman says the money allocated will assist community programs like 414 Life and help expand the services those programs provide.

"We are able to increase our overall capacity and expand 414 Life and get funds to community organizations that are doing direct service work every day," Holliman said. "We want to make sure that people know that we haven't forgot about them. Their needs and their well-being is essential to our work."

Milwaukee saw another record-setting year for homicides with police responding to 194 in 2021. So far this year, Milwaukee police have responded to at least 28 homicides at this time, compared to 14 last year.

Mayor Johnson says folks in the community need to speak up for violence prevention to work.

"If somebody shoots somebody, or hurts somebody, they can't be allowed to just go sit on somebody's couch," Mayor Johnson said. "They should be held accountable, and we need people to step up and say that and to do that. My challenge to people in this community; if you see something going wrong in your neighborhoods, if you want true public safety, then you need to step up and say something."

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