Milwaukee’s homicide total has reached a decade high after three more people died this week, including a 2-year-old girl killed in an arson, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. The city has recorded 124 homicides, two more than the 122 recorded in all of 2005, which was the city’s deadliest year of the past decade. Data back to 1960 show that the worst year for homicides in the city was 1991, when there were 165. “I’m very angry about it,” said Mayor Tom Barrett. “Because I have gotten too many phone calls and messages and been to too many funerals and visitations where I have seen lives end for totally senseless reasons. We all have a responsibility to do everything we can to stop this.”
The city is putting more resources into the police department, which likely will consume 54 percent of the city’s budget net year, and is seeking more federal and state grant money to supplement law enforcement efforts, Barrett said. Police Chief Edward Flynn has said many of this year’s homicides relate to disputes. “The violence is episodic and one of our challenges remains the highest number of our homicides and nonfatal shootings derive from arguments and fights between the criminally involved that aren’t related to the commission of another crime, which is a lot harder to interdict,” Flynn said. “We can try to get the guns off the streets, we can position ourselves to reduce robberies — our robbery-related homicides are down — but two guys bump into (each other at) a bar or get into a Facebook fight and take to the street, that’s a harder thing to interdict,” he said.