Milwaukee, WI -- Mayor Tom Barrett was joined today by U.S. Attorney Steve Biskupic, representatives from the Milwaukee County District Attorney's office and Milwaukee Police and a number of residents, clergy and community groups to launch Safe Streets Milwaukee, a collaborative crime fighting effort developed in part with a $2.5 million "Project Safe Neighborhoods" grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Safe Streets Milwaukee is a five-point plan with the goal of reducing violent crime in the City of Milwaukee:
1) Strengthen ties to the faith community. Milwaukee clergy have led by example when it comes to showcasing a commitment to the residents and neighborhoods in our city. By fully engaging them with our law enforcement and community partners, we will strengthen our neighborhoods and grow opportunities for all residents.
2) Reduce the impact of gangs. The gang culture is one of violence and fear and they thrive by the gun and drug trade and by preying on adolescents who are disconnected from family and school.
3) Get illegal guns off the streets. Find out where the illegal guns are coming from and get them out of our neighborhoods. Barrett will continue to fight
for responsible gun legislation in Madison and Washington and will step up efforts to address gun violence as a public health issue.
4) Go block-by-block. Engage residents and businesses in the most dangerous neighborhoods to partner with law enforcement, faith leaders and community groups to restore safety and stability to these parts of the city.
5) Maximize existing resources. Milwaukee receives grants like the one that is making this initiative possible because of a need, but also in recognition of our will, our ability and the coordination already in existence to get things done. Now we must leverage these resources and expertise to strengthen our collaborative.
"We've been successful with our Safe Summer program but we need a sustainable, yearround effort to stem the tide of violent crime in Milwaukee," said Mayor Barrett. "There is a tremendous amount of work being done in this community by those who remain committed to our city, but if we are going to turn around our most dangerous neighborhoods and families in crisis, we are going to have to step it up."
Barrett announced today that he will convene a Safe Streets Milwaukee collaborative meeting in February. This will provide a forum for clergy, neighborhood organizers and others to meet with law enforcement and government entities to share information and strategize on how best to implement the five objectives.
U.S. Attorney Steve Biskupic added: "In awarding a $2.5 million grant to Milwaukee, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales noted that while Milwaukee has a significant gang and violence problem, Milwaukee also has the infrastructure, the partnerships, and the will needed to address the problem. While federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies are working closely together to target the most violent criminals and criminal gangs in Milwaukee, we know that law enforcement alone can not solve the problems we face. Long-term solutions must come from all parts of our community. We look forward to working more closely with the faith based community to prevent young men and women from succumbing to the lure of gangs and street violence."
Barrett continued, "There is no magic pill that will cure the challenges we face as a city, but we have the will, the ability and the coordination to get it done."