MILWAUKEE — Jeaninne Bauer says she still thinks about an unseasonably warm Sunday in March. Her neighbors near 77th and Lisbon were out, birds were chirping, and she and her husband planned on grilling.
"It should have been enjoyable,"Bauer said.
But the nice weather isn't why the day is etched in her memory. It's the same day two cars driving down her street, with people shooting out of the windows, collided head on.
"It turned into an absolute nightmare. It was the wild west with cars," she said.
When she first heard the collision, she thought it was an explosion. Her Nest doorbell camera caught the whole incident on video. Court documents say it all stemmed from a gun deal gone bad.
Now Bauer is working to counteract the bad her block experienced that March day by building community with her neighbors.
On Thursday, she hosted the first Block Association meeting for her neighbors.
"Let's get together, improve it however we can. Add more flowers to it, be more conscientious of how our homes look. If that's perceived by the bad elements as we're more connected, maybe they'll stay away," Bauer said.
District 5 Alderwoman Nikiya Dodd and a community liaison from the Milwaukee Police Department also attended the meeting. They spoke about some of the new initiatives to cut down on reckless driving in the city and other resources available to the neighborhood.
Bauer believes addressing big, city-wide issues like reckless driving and gun violence should start at the neighborhood level.
"To be able to address such a huge situation, you need to start in small pieces," Bauer said.
This week that small piece was breaking bread, or in this case, cookies, with neighbors and committing to look out for one another.