City leaders say violence in Milwaukee is a public health crisis, call for change in 2021

NOW: City leaders say violence in Milwaukee is a public health crisis, call for change in 2021

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- City leaders say the violence in Milwaukee is a public health crisis.

“2020 was a year none of us wants to see again," Mayor Barrett said.

Barrett and other city leaders are calling 2021 the rebirth of Milwaukee. Friday, Jan 15,  they gathered at 35th and Wells announcing their recommitment to decrease gun violence.

“This is something we have to respond to with the same level of urgency, commitment and focus as we have the COVID-19 pandemic," Reggie Moore said. He is the director of the Office of Violence Prevention.

In 2020, Milwaukee police say there were a record 190 homicides, a major jump from 2018 and 2019.

“No family should ever have to lose a loved one to gun violence," Barrett said.

Barrett says domestic violence is also at the top of their list.

“We know that domestic violence is a serious issue in our city and we know the conditions that we saw in 2020, the economic pressures, the tensions that come.”

The city has allocated more money to expand domestic violence efforts and the 414 Life program.

The investment was matched with national funding from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

“We are excited that the city has resourced us to be able to hire additional staff to serve as interrupters in the underserved Clark Square and Walkers Point regions of our city," Derrick Rogers said. He is the director of the 414 Life Program.

City leaders say they are expecting 2021 to be a year of hope and change.

"We don't have a lack of ideas, the community has told us what needs to be done, now we need the courage and conviction and commitment to invest in those ideas," Moore said.

Mayor Barrett says they’ve received city-wide and federal funds to support their violence prevention efforts.

He says he’s now calling on the state for help.

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