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Milwaukee sees a new record high homicide count

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With about two weeks left in 2021, the city of Milwaukee has already set a new record high for the number of homicides in a year.

As of Tuesday afternoon, 192 people have been killed in the city of Milwaukee this year. That number tops last year’s record of 189 homicides.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said he's not sure if the COVID-19 pandemic is linked to the high levels of violence.

“I think it's striking that the two years we have seen the highest number of homicides, in the history of this community are the two years when we've had the pandemic,” said Barrett. “It's had a huge impact on people's lives. Obviously, their mental health, their economic health, their physical health."

At least a dozen other major U.S. cities have also set new homicide records this year. Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley said there are related signs of people in crisis.

"We see the rise in emergency mental health calls. We see the rise in drug overdoses, and I think other communities — I've actually had this conversation with other county executives across the nation — they're seeing the exact same thing," said Crowley.

The director of Milwaukee's Office of Violence Prevention recently told WUWM that more prevention programs are coming next year, including one trying specifically to reach men who are more likely than women to commit homicide.

Most of the homicides in Milwaukee this year are due to gun violence.

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