Killings in Milwaukee plummeted nearly 18 percent last year, the first time since 1988 that there were fewer than 100, says the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The steepest drop came in drug-related slayings. As of early evening Friday, eighty-eight people had been killed last year, the lowest tally since 1988, police said. In between came the city’s deadliest years, largely due to crack cocaine. The bloodiest year was 1991, when 168 people lost their lives. While homicides dropped here, they rose in two cities often cited as models for Milwaukee – Boston and St. Louis – raising the possibility that homicides may climb again in Milwaukee.
All eight types of serious crime tracked by the FBI fell in Milwaukee. Combined, they were down 15.5 percent. Shootings were down 9.6 percent. Police, crime experts, and community activists suggest many possible reasons for the drop in crime, including aggressive policing, increasing cooperation from the public, work by non-profit groups and clergy, the economy, and even the cool summer. “There is no sound-bite answer to this. No one group can take credit,” said Capt. Timothy Burkee, head of the department’s homicide division. He cautioned against making too much of one year’s numbers, but said, “There is something good happening. That much I can say with some certainty.” Veteran officers say the important statistic is not the number of homicides but the number of shootings. The difference between a non-fatal shooting and murder can be aim and emergency health care.