In an effort to reduce gun violence and homicides, the Milwaukee Police Department is looking for ways to beef up its investigations of non-fatal shootings, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. By treating non-fatal shootings more like homicides, police hope to prevent killings and send a message to the community that police will treat any gun violence seriously, said Capt. David Zibolski, head of the Homicide Division.
The department has long boasted a high rate of solving homicides – roughly eight out of 10 – compared with other departments. The clearance rate for shootings when the victim survives is typically far lower. The department hasn’t provided its shooting clearance rate, but studies at two other large urban departments showed only 30 percent of shootings get solved. A lack of cooperation from victims, along with the sheer number of non-fatal shootings, makes it hard to clear many of them, police officials have said. The push to investigate shootings better comes a year after the Journal Sentinel published a series reporting that more than 800 people were treated for gunshot wounds in Milwaukee County in 2006, a 26 percent increase over the previous year, with serious shootings hitting a 15-year high. The figure includes assaults, accidents, and self-inflicted wounds.