Three homicides on Tuesday night drove Milwaukee’s homicide total to 67 this year, compared with 46 last year reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The city finished with 88 homicides last year, the lowest total since 1988. Now the city is on pace to finish 2005 with 127 homicides, which would tie the highest final tally of the last nine years. More black males have been killed already this year – 47 – than in all of 2004, when 43 died. Historically, there have been more homicides in the second half of the year.
City leaders are concerned. “Homicides are rising at an alarming rate,” said Police Chief Nannette Hegerty. Hegerty and others said gangs and drugs don’t appear to be behind the current wave of killings, but rather arguments that are being settled violently. Mayor Tom Barrett said some people seem to have lost faith in the criminal justice system, prompting them to hand down their own justice. The mayor acknowledged the justice system has its flaws. Street justice, however, “is a recipe for disaster,” he said. Barrett asked residents to call police when their loved ones and friends have guns.