Milwaukee police say that an intensive summer patrol effort drove down violent crime across the city. Yet Patrick Fiddler says he was mugged this summer for the first time in the 30 years he has lived on the city’s east side, says the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. During the past year, some of his friends have been first-time victims as well, he says. Fiddler is among those who question whether the Neighborhood Safety Initiative has pushed crime from the patrols’ target area into other parts of the city that previously saw little crime.
A Journal Sentinel analysis of crime statistics for the first three months of the $2.45 million initiative shows that some major crimes, such as homicide, were reduced. The statistics also show that the extra patrols might not be the unqualified success that police and some city officials have portrayed. Although the most serious violent crimes dropped citywide, aggravated assaults rose in 10 of Milwaukee’s 15 aldermanic districts. In two aldermanic districts, aggravated assaults were up sharply, and both of those districts were right next to the target area for the expanded patrols. Aggravated assaults actually increased more in the aldermanic districts where the patrols were concentrated, the analysis shows. In the six districts that were at least partly within the initiative’s target zone, aggravated assaults were up 5.5 percent. By contrast, aggravated assaults rose only 2 percent in the nine districts that saw less – if any – of the beefed-up patrols.