'Too many guns in this community': City leaders calling on state officials to help reduce violence in Milwaukee

NOW: ’Too many guns in this community’: City leaders calling on state officials to help reduce violence in Milwaukee

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- It's been a deadly and violent month in Milwaukee. Local leaders are asking state officials for help. The Office of Violence Prevention says the city is in a state of emergency. 

Three law enforcement officers were shot within two weeks. 

"How am I going to recruit? How is the chief of police going to recruit? How is the Fire and Police Commission going to recruit individuals to take up this profession of protecting and serving our community when we see law enforcement officers being shot in the street?" Mayor Cavalier Johnson said.

Six people were found dead inside a home on Milwaukee's north side and an 8-year-old girl was shot and killed in the first month of the year.

"It's totally unacceptable and we need it to change," Johnson said. 

"We're absolutely in a state of emergency. We have too many people who are being shot, both fatally and non-fatally, too many children being shot accidentally or getting ahold of a firearm, so we have to really address both as a public health issue, understanding that violence is a disease, it's transmittable but it can also be treated," Director of the Office of Violence Prevention Arnitta Holliman said.. 

Mayor Johnson says state officials must step in to help the city. 

"There are too many guns in this community and those guns are too easily accessible to people who shouldn't have them in the first place," Johnson said. "That's going to take a collaborative effort from all of us to make sure that does not happen, including working with our partners in state government, we really need them in this." 

Violent crime is all too familiar in the Black community, causing some residents to feel numb and uninspired to take back their city. Holliman says lack of resources is to blame.

"We have to deal with the root causes and the root issues, when you have communities that are disempowered, poor access to quality education, health care, where you have food deserts in terms of environmental design, it is not a place that is conducive to really healing or wellness, or thriving. We have to consider all those things make a difference," Holliman said. 

However, there's no one solution to decrease violence. There are a lot of moving parts that involve several agencies.

"It has to be a multi-prong approach and part of that approach is prevention. There's the law enforcement side, criminal justice system side, but when we put the adequate focus on prevention and adequately resourced to the capacity that it should be, I think we will see some more significant change," Holliman said.

Holliman encourages residents to stay connected to their alderman. She says reach out to organizations that are on the ground doing the work. If you see something, say something. 

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