'It's a crisis': Judge David Borowski shares concern over rising crime in Milwaukee

’It’s a crisis’: Judge David Borowski shares concern over rising crime in Milwaukee

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge says a recent expression of outrage he had over rising crime in the city is indicative of sentiments felt by the wider community.

"This community has gone to hell, the city of Milwaukee has turned, in some places, at some times, into a sewer," Judge David Borowski said in court on Friday, March 4.

Borowski's words come as Milwaukee has had multiple record years in homicides and is currently outpacing last year's pace. Nearly a week after his comments, Borowski sat down with CBS 58 to share more about his thoughts on the state of the city and why he felt compelled to share them during a case in court.

"It's just one of many, many cases that I see and one of hundreds of cases that are pending in Milwaukee, but it got a reaction from me and I think it's something that needs more of a reaction from the community because what we have now is not just a problem, it's a crisis," Borowski told CBS 58 in his office. "I think it resonated because I was saying bluntly something that a lot of people are thinking."

The judge hopes his words can spark action from city leaders, specifically from whoever wins April's mayoral election between Cavalier Johnson and Bob Donovan. He says politicians in the city have too long only provided statements and press releases that Borowski says do not change anything.

"I think we need some strategies from whoever is elected mayor next month, from our police chief, from other elected officials, aldermen and others, to deal with this problem," Borowski said.

He also noted part of the strategy involves getting more resources for the criminal justice system. In order to get those resources, the city and county need more funding which is in the hands of the Republican-controlled Legislature in Madison.

"I think the Legislature needs to recognize that the city of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County need additional resources," Borowski said. "Shared revenue has gone down as a portion of the county and city budgets over the course of the last ten years and the money that we need to deal with some of the crime issues needs to be there."

Milwaukee democrats have called for increases in shared revenue and proposals like increasing the county sales tax by half a percent. But republicans have been resistant to those ideas.

At a deeper level, Borowski also emphasized the role of parenting and adult guidance for young people. He hopes there's more focus on teaching patience and conflict resolution, instead of resorting to gun violence to solve minor offenses, even if that conflict resolution happens physically.

"In the old days that would've been a fist fight, and I'd like to go back to the days of fist fighting," Borowski said. "Because, not that I'm endorsing that, but two guys having it out and throwing a few punches and resulting in a broken nose is a lot better than someone pulling out a TEC-9 and shooting somebody."

Borowski added the rise in crime can be partly attributed to the effects of the pandemic, but cautions it's not the only reason and politicians should not hide behind that.

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