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City leaders call for peace ahead of Memorial Day weekend

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Posted at 6:23 PM, May 28, 2021

MILWAUKEE — As summer approaches, city leaders are already looking at ways to get ahead of potential violence.

"You don't have a cookie-cutter approach as to how to address it, but we're committed to addressing it because it's a serious problem,” said Mayor Tom Barrett.

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Mayor Barrett was joined by the Office of Violence Prevention in calling for peace in the city.

The OVP noted it plans to continue walking through neighborhoods considered hot spots for gun violence and talking to people about how to handle situations.

"While there, our team will seek to engage individuals and families with a message of peace and offer real-time tips for de-escalating conflicts that may arise,” said Derrick Rodgers of 414 Life.

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They also intend to have some of their 414 Life violence interrupters outside select night venues to de-escalate situations if needed.

"They have a good understanding of what the popular nightspots are, where people are and where things tend to erupt,” Rogers said.

Milwaukee police say officers have responded to 309 non-fatal shootings this year - nearly double the 168 last year within the same time frame between Jan. 1 and March 28.

In the last 24 hours, police say at least 6 shootings have occurred.

"What you don't see is the violence that doesn't happen, and so the 414 life team, credible messengers are out making sure that things don't happen and those are the numbers you'll never see because it didn't happen," said Arnitta Holliman, Vice President of Office of Violence Prevention.

Milwaukee resident Brandon Wilborn feels proactive measures and investments should be made to reduce gun violence.

"We need to build our community back up in a way that the youth would have somewhere to go. Instead of going to Midtown, they should have a youth center,” Wilborn said.

Wilborn said he's hosting his own 'stop the violence' barbeque at Rose Park Monday afternoon. He said people need positive interactions with one another to help build a sense of community.

“We're asking people to come out and just show support and show they're against the violence. The numbers should never be that many,” Wilborn said.

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