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Project Milwaukee: In-depth reporting on vital issues in the region.

Societal Causes of Milwaukee Gangs

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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.

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Members of the East Side Mafioso gang use spray paint to claim territory.