MPD to increase patrols during NBA playoffs after violence downtown

NOW: MPD to increase patrols during NBA playoffs after violence downtown

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- All eyes will be on Milwaukee Wednesday, as the Bucks kick off the Eastern Conference championship, but some residents and businesses are concerned after an increase in violence downtown.

"Fights, drunk driving, seeing a lot of people running the red light here, shootings." That's how one man, who owns a condo just off Water Street, describes what he sees on weekends.

The man, who did not want to be identified, says he is fed up with the increase in crime in the area -- and sent a letter to the mayor and Fire and Police Commission but didn't get a response.

"I would just like to see a detail level plan, not only just Water Street, the entire city, because the crime is extreme these days," he said.

Over the past weekend there were two shootings and several fights downtown. Police issued eight municipal citations, 62 traffic citations and towed 42 vehicles.

In a statement, MPD said, "The Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) is prepared and working collaboratively with the Milwaukee Bucks, Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office, Milwaukee Fire Department, Milwaukee Health Department and the Department of Public Works to provide a safe and secure Deer District. During the playoffs, MPD will have additional resources which include but are not limited to, members of the Motorcycle Unit, Hazardous Devices Unit, K9 Unit and Mounted Patrol. MPD shares the excitement that comes with playoff basketball; however, criminal activity will not be tolerated. MPD wishes the Milwaukee Bucks the best of luck as they compete for the championship."    

Mayor Barrett says he is working with city leaders and talked to Acting Police Chief Jeffrey Norman Monday night.

"I understand and agree with concern we should have more police and we are working to do that," Mayor Barrett said.

The mayor also addressed reports that police were told to "not be heavy-handed" and concerns that it's impacting officers' ability to police effectively.

"I want our police to be even-handed," Mayor Barrett said. "I want them to be effective and I want them to be fair. I don't want them to be heavy-handed and cause problems, creating backlash."

Until the situation is under control, some businesses are changing their hours.

A manager at Ian's Pizza said they're closing at midnight instead of 3 a.m. on weekends because safety of the staff and customers is the priority.

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