How Milwaukee “Safe Zones” Try To Reduce Local Violence


Milwaukee is recruiting “violence interrupters” for a new “Safe Zone initiative” to keep neighborhoods safe by tapping into residents who already have credibility there, says the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. In each zone, two “ambassador captains” will create a team of a handful of neighborhood residents who are identified as leaders or have a strong influence. “It creates the safe place for people to think before they say, ‘Well there’s no more hope, I gotta do this, I gotta shoot him, I gotta kill him,'” said resident Khalil Coleman. “There’s an alternative. Come walk with us.”

Safe Zones will be located within the most troubled blocks in each of four “Promise Zone” neighborhoods, part of an effort to blanket neighborhoods with services and resources to reduce violence, address systemic poverty and improve the quality of life. In the four “Promise Zones,” more than 45 percent of households have an annual income lower than $25,000 and in some areas more than 56 percent of the total population and more than 71 percent of children live in poverty. The city is spending $300,000 in community development block grant funding for the Promise Zones, in addition to more than $500,000 from the city’s 2015 budget.

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