Crime rates have dropped in Milwaukee's Amani neighborhood over the past year, and TODAY'S TMJ4 has learned the biggest factor is community engagement. Families hope this positive news continues.
For a long time, Barbara Smith felt scared living in her own neighborhood.
"Gun violence, the open drug activity going on, you felt like a prisoner in your own home," said Smith.
But things have changed because the crime rate in Amani has been making a slow but steady downward trend.
"It's gotten better," she said.
According to crime rates provided by COA Youth and Family centers, violent crimes like robberies, assaults and burglaries are taking a nose dive.
In 2016. the crime rate was down a little more than 10 percent. There were 77 fewer crimes compared to 2015. Over the past 4 years. the rate has decreased close to 30 percent in the neighborhood. Stats show there are 237 fewer offenses annually in Amani.
Tom Schneider, the Executive Director of the COA Youth and Family Centers, says this success is a testament to more neighborhood engagement.
"That didn't happen by accident, when you have people looking out for each other you see reductions in crime," said Schneider.
And new developments are popping up in Amani, like a children's clinic, parks, and family centers.
"It's just a continuation of that really positive trend in Amani," he said.
A good sig,n but families aren't getting too comfortable.
"I think it's an ongoing process, so we can't get so relaxed where we stop doing what we need to be doing," said Smith.
Also over the past four years, voting percentages have gone up in the neighborhood.
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