MILWAUKEE -- Mayor Tom Barrett and Police Chief Edward Flynn gathered with members of the faith community to begin this weekend’s Ceasefire Sabbath.
The annual initiative urges churches to preach a special message of non-violence this Sunday. Barrett plans to visit four different parishes.
Pastor Marlon Lock, of UNITY Gospel House of Prayer, was among the faith leaders that attended Thursday morning’s breakfast with Barrett and Flynn at Way of the Cross Missionary Baptist Church at Teutonia and Center.
“I thought it was a great thing coming together,” Lock said.
Lock also brought his young son, Marlon Lock II, to the breakfast with him.
“I just wanted him to see where he needs to eventually be, in terms of stepping up in society and making a positive impact,” Lock said.
Flynn presented statistics at the gathering showing shootings in Milwaukee disproportionately impact African Americans.
“If you’re African American in this city you’re 18 times more likely to be shot than any other race,” Flynn said.
Flynn noted statistics show the bulk of the city’s shootings and victims are in the age group of 18 to 29 years old. He said presenting the public with facts and figures about the city’s crime helps them better understand ways to combat it.
“First we describe the problem, then people can talk about their component of a solution,” the chief said.
Barrett said that while young people involved in crimes don’t go to church, their mothers or grandmothers typically do. So the mayor said the Ceasefire Sabbath can reach misguided youths through those relatives.
“We can reach those individuals who then carry the message to the young men who are out there between midnight and 3 a.m.,” Barrett said.
Flynn’s statistics also showed a negative correlation between traffic stops and car thefts, robberies and non-fatal shootings. Those crimes decreased in areas where MPD increased its number of routine traffic stops.
Flynn said that occurred even if, in roughly 80 percent of the stops, only warnings were handed out. He credited a notable presence in public areas with deterring crime.