Milwaukee leaders discuss 2022 crime data
Last year, Milwaukee had a record number of homicides—214 people died. That was an increase of 11% from 2021. But on Thursday, Milwaukee's Mayor, police chief and the director of the Office of Violence Prevention stressed the drop in crime in other categories.
They presented the statistics during a news conference at the Milwaukee Police Administration Building downtown. The report shows a 23% drop in auto thefts and burglaries were down by 18%, and robberies declined by 14%.
Ashanti Hamilton, director of the Office of Violence Prevention, says identifying violence hotspots has been vital, as well as paying attention to the community's mental health and conflict resolution.
"We've been building relationships with culturally led organizations who have relationships in many of the communities that we're operating in so that people who traditionally may not have gotten therapy, counseling, and support through conflict resolution training are actually willing to take this training in many of these neighborhoods now," says Hamilton.
Reckless driving continues to be a concern for Milwaukee leaders and residents.
Car crashes overall decreased by 13% last year. Hit-and-run crashes dropped 17%. But fatalities in traffic accidents remain high, with 75 people dying in Milwaukee last year—an increase of 14%.
Police Chief Jeffrey Norman reported that the police department and the Mayor's office are collaborating on initiatives to address the issue. One of them is called Vision Zero. It's a program that aims to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries while increasing safe, healthy, and equitable mobility.
"We are happy with the success. But we also understand we don't rest on our laurels and think that this is it. We have a continuous conversation, continuous effort being put forth to ensure that we are continuing the downward momentum of what we've seen in reckless driving," Norman says.
Norman says he’s hopeful that downward crime trends will continue in 2023 but the efforts work best when people work together to keep the community safe.