There are too many shootings and murders in Milwaukee but the problem should not be dealt with “hysterics” like a pending proposal to bring in the National Guard, editorializes the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Anticrime strategy should aim at shoring up families through jobs, not welfare, says the paper. Police, prosecutors, judges, neighborhood leaders, social workers, educators, lawmakers, business leaders, and ordinary residents must get smarter about fighting crime. The metropolian area is paying for the problem “in huge public expenditures for courts and prisons and in an economy hobbled by a depressed hub,” says the Journal Sentinal.
Metro leaders have been derelict in dealing with joblessness in the area’s core neighborhoods. On the policing front, the newspaper endorses community-based policing, where officers get to know business people and residents on their beats and can spot trouble before it happens. Milwaukee should copy the Boston model, in which ministers, community leaders, police, and scholars collaborate to reduce crime. The paper lauds Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm for believing “he can put fewer people behind bars and make Milwaukee safer.” The trick is to give appropriate services to offenders. That could mean treatment for drugs or mental illness. For gangbangers and other violent criminals, long prison terms are appropriate. The paper urges citizens to “Expose your mind to contrary views. Elect officials who will solve, rather than hype, the crime problem.”