Violence prevention specialists speak on efforts as violent Milwaukee weekend flows into the week

NOW: Violence prevention specialists speak on efforts as violent Milwaukee weekend flows into the week

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- After a violent weekend in Milwaukee, police are investigating yet another homicide Monday night, Sept. 20.

It happened in the 4800 block of North 66th street, a 76-year-old man has been killed, and police have a 59-year-old man in custody.

Yet another homicide on top of an already violent year in Milwaukee.

Milwaukee police said this latest shooting happened because of an argument.

Officials with the Medical College of Wisconsin say 2020 saw an over 90% increase in gun violence, a rise that has continued into this year.

They're working with people like the Milwaukee Office of Violence Prevention to try and find a solution.

"2020 and 2021. They have been unusual years in terms of the number of homicide and non-fatal shooting victims that we've seen," said Director of Homicide Review Division at Medical College of Wisconsin Constance Kostelac.

She said during the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the root causes of violence got worse.

At the Office of Violence Prevention, Community Violence Prevention Manager Jamaal Smith spoke about what they're doing.

"We look at violence as being preventable because it's a disease," said Jamaal, "If it is a disease, that means it can be treated."

Smith said they look at the impact of pain and trauma on communities where violence is prevalent. He said to address violence at the source, you need to address things like education, employment and housing.

Smith said when more people understand the connection between those societal issues and violence, change can start to happen.

"When people have stable housing, they're less likely to engage in risky behaviors from the physiological, psychological and physical trauma that they may have experienced from unstable housing, which increases the likelihood of engaging in risky behaviors, leading to violence," explained Smith.

He said they work with many groups, like the Medical College of Wisconsin, as well as grassroots organizations.

"What we're focused on right now is how can we come together as practitioners and as researchers and with the community to try to turn the direction on what we've been seeing in the last year and a half in particular," said Kostelac.

Smith said violence prevention is also an individual initiative, which is why he encourages people to familiarize themselves with the Blueprint for Violence Prevention they've developed, with help from the community. You can find that here.

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