Milwaukee leaders, organizations re-launch 'Alert Neighbor Program' to reduce crime

NOW: Milwaukee leaders, organizations re-launch ’Alert Neighbor Program’ to reduce crime

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee Alderman Russell Stamper, of District 15, and Alderwoman Milele Coggs of District 6 announced the relaunch of an initiative meant to help curb crime and improve neighborhood physicality by collaborating with residents.

The Alert Neighbor Program is an initiative between residents, the Milwaukee Police Department, Department of City Development, Department of Neighborhood Services, Community Prosecution Unit, Office of Violence Prevention and area non-profit organizations.

Wednesday's re-launch of the program comes after Milwaukee police released the mid-year crime review, showing some crime decreases, but an increase in fatal shootings and carjacking.

"Oftentimes people feel powerless with the level of crime that we see. We're here today to help residents take back some of that power," Ald. Coggs said.

The Alert Neighbor Program is organized to empower residents to take action to help keep their own neighborhoods safe.

"The most successful neighborhoods are the ones that have the most active residents," said Ald. Stamper

Those involved in the Alert Neighbor Program form a group represented by at least 8 households, called a 'Block Club," and can submit an application to the city for funding.

Selected Block Clubs will have a neighborhood walkthrough with MPD to develop a safety plan and take trainings. Block Clubs then meet monthly to discuss issues and improvements.

The selected neighborhoods will also receive cameras, flood lights, and signage.

"We know that lights, we know that cameras, we know that organized neighbors, neighbors looking out for one another, help to keep a neighborhood safe," Coggs said.

The program began last year with 15 neighborhoods. Now with more partnership funding, they're ready to take more applications.

Current block club leader Haynie Smith saw improvements from the program firsthand.

"I witnessed personally my car being broken into, and once this neighborhood program came into our neighborhood, and we were able to get our cameras up, the cameras were a deterrent. So we have not had any issues," Smith said.

Smith believes the program encouraged many of his neighbors to step up.

"I was really afraid of my neighborhood, but this alert neighborhood program came, a lot of leaders started emerging," Smith said.

Any neighborhoods within the city of Milwaukee are eligible to submit an application.

Applications are open now on the city's website, with a deadline for Aug. 5.

Alderman Stamper said they hopefully have enough funding to bring the program to 15 more neighborhoods. 

Click here for more information and applications.

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