Flynn Credited With Holding Down Milwaukee Crime Despite High Poverty


Violent crime in Milwaukee is down 11 percent since 2008. Politico says that what makes Milwaukee stand out is not just that crime has fallen, which has happened everywhere, but that it has done so in a town where 28 percent of the population falls below the poverty level, far above the national average, and where conventional wisdom has it that the entrenched problems that go along with long-lasting economic deprivation make it much harder to do anything about crime.

Politico credits “a reforming police chief named Edward Flynn who's determined to make Milwaukee an unlikely textbook demonstration for just about every innovative policing idea out there: using Big Data to identify crime hot spots, throwing cops out of headquarters and back onto beats, deploying officers to the homes of recently released offenders to offer guidance on education and work possibilities.” Flynn talks with passion about “nation-building at home,” about the police department as an “agent of economic development,” of his officers promoting “civic activity and democracy.” The stats, the technology, the cops back on the beat—it “all ties together,” says George Kelling of the “Broken Windows” theory of policing and a Milwaukee native who in 2007 helped persuade the city to hire Flynn. “It's part of a whole, coherent vision” of what modern urban policing needs to be.”

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