Milwaukee police install fencing, increase presence following spike in violence downtown

NOW: Milwaukee police install fencing, increase presence following spike in violence downtown

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee police said they were keeping a close eye on crowds Wednesday night after an increase in violence in some areas downtown.

Fans watching the game on Water Street found increased protection.

MSOE and Milwaukee police installed a fence earlier in the week after an empty lot outside the Milwaukee School of Engineering was identified as a hotspot for trouble. 

Neighbors say unruly crowds were gathering in it, so ahead of Wednesday night's game, a fence went up to keep the riffraff out. 

"We think this is a very good plan to protect us actually, from the guys who will be drunk at night," said food trunk vendor Mohammed Alsheyab.

Along with the new fence, an increased police presence started early in the evening. 

"We've been highly visible in these past couple of weekends," said MPD Acting Chief Jeffrey Norman. "Understand that we're not gonna tolerate, you know, law-breaking."

Even the bomb squad is keeping a watchful eye on Water Street.

"It will be crazy out at night and we hope that we will have more police officers that will protect us actually and keep us safe here, because it's really crazy outside, especially when the people are so drunk."

Bars and restaurant owners have been meeting up and talking about ways they can contribute to a positive party atmosphere.

"Wanding people, patting people down, checking bags," said Keenan Sumlin of Pourman's. "It might seem like a lot, but when you get inside, you'll understand why. The environment is supposed to be free, you're supposed to feel like you're having a good time."

Sumlin says he appreciates seeing more cops on patrol.

"I think it's always important to have increased police presence, not just on nights like this, but especially on nights like when it seems like an event."

We're told police on foot patrol will be walking between Fiserv and Water Street. 

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