Milwaukee city aldermen demand concrete data from the Office of Violence Prevention to show their efforts work

NOW: Milwaukee city aldermen demand concrete data from the Office of Violence Prevention to show their efforts work

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The Office of Violence Prevention was under fire at the Public Safety and Health Committee meeting Thursday, Sept. 30. Leaders are asking the group to show how their efforts to prevent violence is working.

"The article of violence prevention will never be an article of faith for me. However, it is not something to which my mind is closed. I would love it if it works, but I want evidence that it works," Alderman Scott Spiker said. 

Alderman Spiker wants concrete date that proves their efforts are working to decrease violence.

"We can increase the kind of outcome that we have or how we evaluate some of the things we're looking at, but we just can't say definitely that because we did X,Y, and Z or because we supported this particular program that it absolutely reduced crime, and there's no other city department that's able to do that as well," Arnitta Holliman said. She is the director of the Office of Violence Prevention. 

Spiker says if the group can show what they're doing is working and why it's working, it will help them get more money.

"We can give justification for scaling up funding here and give a model for other cities to look at as well."

Holliman tells CBS 58 that based on a recent report from the Annie Casey Foundation, Milwaukee is a model for gun violence prevention work.

"We use the Cure Violence model which is a nationally and internationally recognized model." 

The Office of Violence Prevention's budget is $3.7 million. At least $1.6 million comes from federal funding. Holliman says in order to receive that money, they must report on specific measures and outcomes.

"We've always tracked those numbers and we've also presented those numbers when asked," she said.

In the meeting, Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic defended Holliman. 

"We have to look at every single one of our departments in the city as a city," Dimitrijevic said. "I hope we use that frame for every single department and I would offer that the Office of Violence Prevention can't do it all alone, we're dealing with root causes here." 

Holliman says she's hoping council members and other leaders within the city will understand the work they do and how they do it.

She's asking for more support and investment to continue their hard work. 

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