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Milwaukee’s annual homicide report shows decrease in homicides

The number of homicides across the city of Milwaukee dropped in 2016, according to the city’s annual homicide report by the Milwaukee Homicide Review Commission.

Organizations and local leaders say this kind of data allows them to understand the factors contributing to violence in our neighborhoods and effectively target interventions.

CBS 58 spoke with a family who is experiencing firsthand the effects of a homicide.

It was the early morning of January 27, 2013 when Milwaukee police say Keith Brooks shot and killed his wife Anita Brooks in what they labeled a domestic violence incident.

In 2014, a jury found him guilty.

“I’m hoping somewhere down the line, he’ll admit to what he did because he never admitted to doing it,” says Joyce Hailstock, Anita’s grandmother.

Hailstock raised Anita from a young age and is now also raising the couple’s daughter.

“We got her shortly after that [the shooting]. She told us, at 3, [years of age], that her mother was dead,” says Hailstock.

“We really need to think about children who are exposed to so much violence,” says Susan Conwell, executive director of Kids Matter, Inc. “That’s a trauma in itself.”

The Milwaukee Homicide Commission’s annual report states there were 139 homicides in 2016, a slight decrease from the year before.

But as Conwell explains, that’s still too many.

“We’re in the top 10 cities in the United States in terms of homicides,” says Conwell. “When you think about all the people that those victims encountered, that’s 1,000 people in our city who have direct immediate contact with somebody who is a homicide victim.”

That’s something Hailstock knows all too well as she now teacher her granddaughter about the person her mother was.

“When she gets older I can show her how loved her mom was and how many lives she touched in such a short period of time,” explains Hailstock.

It’s a vicious cycle Hailstock hopes to bring attention to by sharing their stories.

“Step back, take a deep breath, and walk away,” says Hailstock. “There’s nothing positive out of murder. She’s gone and then he’s incarcerated.”

Keith continues to serve his 40 year sentence.

The couple’s daughter is now 8 years old. Hailstock says their daughter went through therapy. She also says she has not seen or asked for her father since the incident.

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