Why Did Milwaukees's Murder Rate Double Last Year?
2020 saw an alarming increase in homicides across the United States. Despite many cities being in lockdown, violent crime jumped. And in the case of Milwaukee, it almost doubled.
Tourists may associate Milwaukee with its proud brewing tradition and the Milwaukee Bucks, but sadly this trend may soon associate the city with violent crime.
In 2019 there were 98 homicides in Milwaukee. Tragically this rose to 198 homicides in 2020. What caused this massive spike, and what is the city of Milwaukee doing about it.
The statistics paint a tragic story for Milwaukee. In 2020 there were 13.53 violent crimes per 1000 Milwaukee residents. This compares to the national average of 4 per 1000. This means that someone in Milwaukee had a 1 in 74 chance of being a victim of a violent crime. This figure is more than double any other city in Wisconsin.
Is segregation a factor?
The city now ranks as the 9th most dangerous city in the United States. It seems that segregation and the opioid crisis are largely to blame. Milwaukee’s poverty rate is almost twice that of the national average, which also leads to crime.
Analysis by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel found that a black resident was eight times as likely as a white resident to be shot and killed. It also found that Milwaukee — had a black-white segregation index higher than the national average of the 50 largest cities.
The research found that the more integrated a city was, the less correlation between income and race, the healthier the city and the lower the violence. The most integrated neighborhoods in Milwaukee have lower rates of poverty, shootings, and homicides.
40 percent of the city's gun violence is in 14 neighborhoods.
"So what can we do if we really want to see a continued drop in crime? It's not necessarily in services but identifying better ways to bring education and better our education and economy in those neighborhoods." Former Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales in January 2020
Will the Former Milwaukee Police Chief return?
Last year former Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales was demoted to captain after conflicts with the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission. Morales subsequently retired and fought for a settlement as well as to get his old job as police chief back.
Milwaukee County Judge Chris Foley argued there was no due process when Morales was demoted and gave the city 45 days to negotiate a settlement. Morales says he is ready to return to work.
"I'm ready to come back. It has to be done. I don't know if they realize what they have done. My biggest thing is why has the city taken this stance. Especially during a time when civil rights is a hot topic. And the city has taken this stance towards me, it's just distasteful at the minimum. This was a national movement to really attack law enforcement and put law enforcement back. They basically took me out of the position of office and shot me. " Former Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales May 25, 2021
The city had been searching for a replacement which has subsequently been put on hold. Ther were deciding between Hoyt Mahaley and Malik Aziz.
What do Milwaukee readers think? Why is crime so high in the city, and should Morales be allowed back to his former position?