Milwaukee is among the leaders in a spike in violent crime being reported this year in numerous cities across the country, says the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I think there is something important going on out there,” said David Kennedy of the Center for Crime Prevention and Control at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, told a crime conference at the college last week. “My bones tell me that something is changing.” Several police chiefs have concluded that the jump in violent crime is not a blip but the start of a troubling trend that must be tackled, said Dean Esserman, chief in Providence, R.I.
Violent crime nationally in 2005 showed the largest single-year increase in 14 years, and many cities report that the trend is continuing this year. Homicides in Milwaukee are down almost 16 percent this year, but non-fatal shootings are rising. Experts say the total number of shootings – not just the fatal ones – is a better measurement of gun violence. Esserman and other chiefs fault the U.S. Justice Department for forgetting about crime as it focuses on terrorism. Esserman said another ingredient is getting everyone to care about the violence. He said that too often, the public gives a collective shrug over rampant violence because it affects poor people, usually in the African-American community. “It has become tolerated. It has become acceptable,” he said of the roughly 16,000 homicides every year. “Where is the moral outrage?”