Children in some Milwaukee neighborhoods are likely to become involved in gangs. Teens and even younger kids may sell cocaine, move guns from one location to another, or act as "lookouts" while illegal activities are underway. Officers Louis Kopesky and Daniel Knitter are with the Milwaukee Police Department's 5th District Community Prosecution Unit.
They told Ann-Elise Henzl about the problem during a patrol on the city's near north side.
It’s illegal for children to purchase a handgun or even possess one, unless they’re involved in a supervised activity. Yet in Milwaukee, as in other cities, some young people have easy access to guns and actually carry and use them. In this installment of Project Milwaukee: Youth Violence, WUWM's Marge Pitrof explores how young people get their hands on firearms and why some children want them.
In some dangerous neighborhoods of Milwaukee, it seems as if there's a roadside memorial every other block. The stuffed animals, votive candles, photos, and bottles of liquor are left at a tree, in honor of someone who died of gang violence. Often the victims and perpetrators of gang crimes are teenagers. Experts say that's a sharp contrast to 30 years ago, when gangs were almost non-existent here.
Joy Price is young adult librarian and coordinator of the Stop Teen Violence program at the Milwaukee Public Library. There's a seminar tonight at the Forest Home Library called “Protect Yourself.” Speakers will discuss safe relationships, conflict resolution and self defense. Price speaks with Jane Hampden.
This week on WUWM, we’re looking at the issue of youth violence as part of our special Project Milwaukee series. Many young people from Milwaukee who are convicted of violent crimes do their time at Ethan Allen School near Wales, just west of Waukesha. It’s Wisconsin’s most secure prison for boys. Three inmates from Milwaukee say growing up around violence led them to where they are today.
Stanley Cole is a youth outreach worker with Milwaukee’s Running Rebels organization. He’s a former gang member who spent time in jail. Since then, he’s recruited and worked with hundreds of at-risk young people in Milwaukee, and gained national attention for his efforts. He talks with Jane Hampden.
John Hagedorn of Milwaukee is an associate professor of criminal justice and senior research fellow at the University of Illinois-Chicago’s Great Cities Institute. His new book is A World of Gangs: Armed Young Men and Gangsta Culture. He speaks with Jane Hampden.