An anticrime initiative that put Milwaukee police on patrol in some of the most dangerous neighborhoods this summer is taking credit for a nearly 22 percent drop in non-fatal shootings as well as a decrease in homicides this year, says the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The Neighborhood Safety Initiative is working, police and Mayor Tom Barrett said in a news conference yesterday. “The bad guys are starting to get the message: If we catch you, you are definitely going to jail,” said deputy Police Chief Brian O’Keefe.
The $2 million program, which began just before Memorial Day, is to run through Sept. 8. Between Jan. 6 and July 29 this year, there have been 275 non-fatal shootings, down from 351 during the same period in 2006. In 2006, there were 26 percent more gunshot victims, and serious shootings hit a 15-year high. In a series last year, the Journal Sentinel found shootings cost taxpayers, hospitals and people with insurance tens of millions of dollars a year and dominate police officers’ time, leading to slow response for less-urgent calls. The spike in shootings last year came even as the number of shooting deaths dropped by 18 percent.