Established in January of 2005, the Milwaukee Homicide Review Commission is a central component to the City of Milwaukee's violence prevention efforts. Drawing on public health and criminal justice approaches, it was designed with the following goals in mind 1) to gain a better understanding of homicide through strategic problem analysis, 2) to develop innovative and effective responses and prevention strategies, and 3) to help focus available prevention and intervention resources. Under the auspices of the Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, former Milwaukee Police Chief Nannette Hegerty, and former Milwaukee County District Attorney E. Michael McCann, the Commission was charged with tackling violent crime.
- 2012 Homicide and Non-Fatal Shooting Facts
- 2012 Homicide Total- 91 (increase of 6% from 2011)
- 2012 Domestic Violence Homicide Total- 16 (increase of 77% from 2011)
- 2012 Non-Fatal Shooting Total- 508 (increase of 7% from 2011)
- 2012 Domestic Violence Non-Fatal Shooting Total- 14 (increase of 75% from 2011)
- Homicide is the leading cause of death among 15-24 year old males in Milwaukee and firearm homicide is the leading cause of the death among black males of the same age, also in Milwaukee.
- Over the last five years, Milwaukee has experienced an average of 95 homicides and nearly 500 near fatal shooting victims.
- Nearly 13% of all homicides are intimate partner-related and/or involve the violent death of an infant or child.
- Nearly 60% of homicides are precipitated by another crime, the two most common are robbery and narcotics representing 86% of the possible crimes.
- Firearms are the primary weapon used in almost 80% of homicide cases between 2005-2009.
- The vast majority of homicide suspects and victims have had previous engagement with law officials
The Milwaukee Homicide Review Commission has become a critical forum for various stakeholders to work collaboratively to address violence in a comprehensive and sustainable way that balances short- term interventions with longer-term solutions. The MHRC is made up of criminal justice professionals, community service providers, public officials, and residents who meet regularly-through homicide review process - to exchange information regarding the city's homicides and near fatal shootings and to identify methods of prevention. Partners represent key stakeholders from multiple levels (city, regional, county, and state), disciplines, and agencies (governmental and private, including community service providers). At each homicide review meeting, partners participate in an intensive discussion and examination of individual homicide and intentional crime incidents. Through this process, trends, gaps, and deficits within the already existing systems and programs designed to prevent and reduce violence are identified and recommendations are made to strengthen these systems and programs.
Homicide Review Levels
- Level 1 – In real time, the Milwaukee Police Department responds to homicides as usual, investigating why the homicide occurred and who was responsible for it.
- Level 2 – A monthly review of all homicides that occurred the prior month by primarily local criminal justice professionals. These professionals develop a detailed description of the homicide. Also called Criminal Justice Reviews.
- Level 3– A monthly review of all closed cases (cases where an individual(s) has been arrested or an arrest warrant has been issued for the homicide) by community service providers that identify community-level factors that contributed to the homicide. Also called Community Service Provider Reviews.
- Level 3A– A monthly review of all domestic violence-related homicides, which includes intimate-partner violence as well as, infant, child, and teen deaths. These reviews are attended by the law enforcement personnel working on the case, domestic violence and youth providers, and special entities such as commissions or tasks forces on domestic violence, women's health, etc.
- Level 4– An annual meeting for community members to receive and provide input and feedback on the violence prevention and interventions implemented as a result of the criminal justice and community service provider reviews. Also called Community Reviews.
The Commission is a proven model for reducing homicides and related violence that can be replicated nationally. It is the first review process of its kind in the country that combines the traditional criminal justice approach of crime incident reviews with the public health approach of death reviews into one comprehensive and collaborative process. Cities from across the country from Los Angeles, California to Kansas City, Kansas have looked to the Commission as a model review process. Additionally, an independent National Institute of Justice-funded evaluation found that where the Commission was involved (the intervention sites), homicides reduced 52% compared to 9.2% in the control sites; a statistically significant difference. The Commission and its partners began the homicide review processes using strategic analysis, Milwaukee experience a significant drop in the number of homicides – again, a 52% reduction.