Milwaukee Crime

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Car thefts have been all over the Milwaukee news lately, and with good reason. Data point to an 11 percent increase last year, and numbers continuing to grow in 2016. The jump is one reason why the city’s Public Safety Committee has scheduled a half-dozen special meetings.

 Members are also concerned about homicides. They are tracking below 2015, but it was a violent year. The Wisconsin Department of Justice was the latest on Monday to testify on why the state’s largest city is seeing a surge in certain crimes.

Bonnie Petrie / WUWM Milwaukee Public Radio

Some Milwaukee residents are arming themselves with signs and cell phones in an effort to take back their neighborhoods and their streets from people who break the law.

Florence Burt and George Gage are standing on the corner of Capitol Drive and N 60th Street in the blistering heat, waving hand-made signs saying, "Stop Means Stop." Burt says she can no longer sit at home and complain about the reckless driving on the north side. Gauge agrees. He says he’s sick of drivers in his neighborhood doing whatever they please.

The topic of crime in Milwaukee has taken center stage this week, as a legislator from Menomonee Falls warned that she would take action. GOP Representative Janel Brandtjen said she would push to cut state funding for Milwaukee, if the city is not able to curtail crime. 

Early Saturday, the state Senate voted to raise the amount of money individuals can contribute to state candidates, to allow third party groups and campaigns to coordinate activities - as long as those outside groups don't explicitly tell people to vote for or against a candidate, and to scrap the Wisconsin law that has required donors to identify their employer. The vote was 17 to 15, with Green Bay Sen. Rob Cowles being the lone Republican to join Democrats in opposing the changes.

David Guo, flickr

So far this year, more than 5,600 people in Milwaukee have had their vehicle stolen. The number is more than 67 percent higher than it was at this time in 2013.

You might picture the thieves stealing cars to sell them or to sell their parts. But typically, that's not what's happening. "Often it's been determined that those vehicles have been used in the commission of crimes," says Jim Tolkan, president of the Automobile Dealers Association of Mega Milwaukee, or ADAMM.

Numbers Help Police Predict Upcoming Crimes

Jul 2, 2014
Raymond Boyd, Getty Images

Over the last few months, there have been periodic outbreaks of violence in Milwaukee during the weekends, or other several day stretches, with sudden increases in shootings or other criminal unrest.

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Though Wisconsin has the unfortunate distinction of having the country's highest rate of black male incarceration, it does fall in line with national trends.

It’s been a violent week in Milwaukee. At least 20 people have been shot since Friday.