Milwaukee has become a tale of two cities. On the one hand, Milwaukee sits on the banks of Lake Michigan, one of the greatest natural resources in our nation, has a booming downtown, wonderful ethnic and music festivals, great universities, a world-class symphony, is home to professional baseball and basketball teams and enjoys on-going commercial investment and development. On the other hand, however, Milwaukee faces serious problems that are many and profound. They include a stubbornly high crime rate, multigenerational poverty, joblessness, breakdown of the family, widespread drug abuse, a challenged education system and the lingering effects of the housing foreclosure crisis.
The problem that must be addressed before any of the others is public safety or, more specifically, the lack of it. Crime is the overarching problem affecting the entire community and holding Milwaukee back from reaching its full potential. And while high crime is not uncommon in urban areas, Milwaukee is undisputedly in the midst of a public safety crisis. The crime rate is simply too high in too many neighborhoods, which has led to a culture of fear, hopelessness and disinvestment.
Our goal with this report is to present a more effective and cost-efficient model to address crime, fear and disorder in the City of Milwaukee, and then to begin implementation of its recommendations, while bolstering programs we already have in place to address identified causes. It is currently a work in progress, and will be refined over the coming weeks as we seek further input.
Important Preface Note
This document, created under the leadership and direction of Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton and Public Safety Committee Chair Alderman Bob Donovan, is not final and will be undergoing further review.
President Hamilton has indicated that the public safety, policing and criminal justice recommendations are just the first in a series of recommendations drafted following weeks of public hearings on a broad range of issues concerning public safety, and the plan was further enhanced by one-on-one conversations with officials, constituents, and other stakeholders.
Other forthcoming proposals will incorporate resident engagement, public education, community relations and job creation strategies.
President Hamilton and members of the council will be hosting two listening sessions to gather input from the community regarding the public safety plan. Details of those listening sessions are forthcoming.