Violent crime in Milwaukee dropped 12.3 percent last year, the fourth largest drop among the country’s 33 largest cities, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says the new FBI Uniform Crime Report shows. Among all police agencies in the Midwest, violent crime fell 1.5 percent. Criminal justice experts, neighborhood leaders, and city officials said no single factor has driven the decline in Milwaukee; they said police strategies and community partnerships have helped. Others say crime has fallen with a decline in crack and cocaine use, and with a drop in the number of teenagers and young adults.
“The fact that crime rates are going down, despite factors that sometimes would make them go up, is a good thing,” said criminologist James Alan Fox of Boston’s Northeastern University. Even as the crime rate continue to slide downward, experts cautioned that the trend might not continue if the job market remains sluggish as more teenagers grow into the population. Already this year there have been 45 homicides, up from 34 at this time last year, putting the city on pace for 104 killings in 2005. In some neighborhoods, local leaders think crime is getting worse.