WUWM News

Are Kids' Mental Health Needs Being Met?

Jun 5, 2008

We continue our Project Milwaukee series on youth violence now with a look at kids’ mental health needs. A report by the Alliance for Children and Families says at least 26,000 children in Milwaukee suffer from some type of mental disorder, such as anxiety, behavior problems or depression. Members of the alliance say there’s often a relationship between violent behavior and mental well-being.

Youth Violence Endemic to Milwaukee

Jun 5, 2008

Gun violence reached epidemic proportions in Milwaukee in the 1990s. Today, it is endemic --woven into the fabric of everyday life. That's according to researcher and physician Dr. Steven Hargerten of the Medical College of Wisconsin. Hargarten views youth homicide, especially among minority males, as a disease.

We've been exploring the issue of youth violence from a variety of angles for the past week on WUWM. We've met children who've been either victims or perpetrators of violent crimes. Some of the offenders wind up in the court system at an early age.

Milwaukee has problems with youth violence, just as does nearly every other urban community. While that violence impacts vital components of everyday life such as family relationships, the schools and the criminal justice system, it can also impact economic development. Howard Snyder is Executive Director of the Northwest Side Community Development Corporation and spoke to us as part of our series, Project Milwaukee: Youth Violence.

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 Easy to Get a Gun

Jun 3, 2008

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.

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.

We continue to discuss the causes and possible solutions to youth violence in our community. Today we explore the possible generational connection between violent parents and their children.

Youth violence often refers to assaults. All too often, those fights include the use of a gun.UWM criminologist and psychologist Will Pelfrey says parts of Milwaukee have been plagued by gun violence in recent years.

Girls No Strangers to Violence

May 30, 2008

As we continue our series on youth violence in Milwaukee, we meet with five local teenage girls who’ve had first-hand experience with violence, in their case, fighting. Their names are Maria, Jasmine, Kwan, Denise and Destiny, and they’re either 16 or 17 years old. Four of the five admit being violent toward people they don’t like.

Poem Decries Violence Striking Young Children

May 29, 2008

As part of our series on youth violence, 14 year old Sheldon Fountain, Jr. reads the poem he was inspired to write about a wayward bullet killing a young girl, an innocent bystander. The poem is titled, Generally Speaking, A Reason for Poetry.

Milwaukee officials note that a proliferation of guns and other weapons has accompanied an increase in youth violence here. However, an army of dedicated professionals staff programs designed to reach out to young people whose lives can be turned upside down by the effects of violence.

Starting today, WUWM News and the Lake Effect program are examining the causes of youth violence and possible solutions to what some have called an epidemic afflicting Milwaukee.

WUWM began a new series about youth violence in Milwaukee. We'll be airing stories and interviews on Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Lake Effect that will take an in-depth look at the problem and most importantly, explore possible solutions.

Friday morning, we’ll have a story by WUWM's LaToya Dennis. She spoke with WUWM's Erin Toner.

WUWM has begun a series of reports on youth violence in Milwaukee. That’s in light of the upcoming summer months, which are often a rough time for the city. Friday, we visit what is arguably the most dangerous zip code area for both kids and others. 53206. In 2005 and 2006, 51 homicides were recorded there. That’s more than twice as many as in neighboring areas. A few decades ago, residents say 53206 was thriving. WUWM’s LaToya Dennis explores the changes that have taken place.

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