MILWAUKEE -- Homicides are down 32 percent compared to this time in 2018, Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales said during a Public Health and Safety Meeting Thursday afternoon.
In 2018, there was a 15 percent decrease in non-fatal shootings from 2017.
Of the 190 neighborhoods in the city, Chief Morales said five high-frequency neighborhoods account for 35 percent of the homicides, and12 neighborhoods account for 40 percent of the non-fatal shootings.
"That is important for everybody to know because it’s not just a police problem. When you look at these neighborhoods there's going to be economic problems, there's going to be transportation problems, education problem there's going to be a number different issues that can be addressed through alternative resources," said Morales.
Chief Morales said the department is focused on the 10 percent of people creating the problem. As the summer ramps up, there will be an increase in beat patrols, officers on bikes, and a focus on reckless driving. The Chief said although the crime numbers are going down, there is still a lot of work to be done.
"There is no homicide that is acceptable," said Morales.
Morales credited several reasons for the decline but stated it's a community-wide effort. The department has partnered with various organizations like the Alma Center to prevent crime. Morales gave them high praises for their work but said it's not one organization doing all the work.
"The agency I have been very surprised with is the Alma Center," said Morales.
Becky Redmond-Walker is the Re-Entry Manager for the Alma Center. Through a grant by the National Resource Center for Reaching Victims, they provide support to those impacted by crime violence.
"We let them know we are part of the community and here to help you become whole and deal with the trauma that happened to you," said Becky.
During tragedy, the center is out on the street with boots on the ground. Jarmel Jordan is a Peer Guide for the Alma Center. He said it's not about what caused the shooting or violence, it's solely about helping those impacted.
"The gun violence is the last thing I'm worried about. It's authenticity. Me going into the home and saying, hey, are you ok? If we keep approaching people in a humane way even regardless of what their background is or why they were shot, or why they were in that situation, I think we will get that same energy in return and they will talk to us, said Jordan.
The center provides a variety of services all free of charge. Anything from helping the victim or victim's family with insurance information, to health needs, or proving trips to the grocery store but sometimes the service with the most significant impact is just being present.
"Sometimes it’s sitting and allowing them to talk," said Becky.
The organization is helping 43 people impacted by violence, Becky feels like their mission is working.
"That’s 43 individuals that’s not retaliating. They rebuild their love and trust in our community," said Becky.
Becky said she feels the City is changing, communities and organizations are banding together to take back the streets.
"We are making those small steps to decrease the violence in our community and I’m excited about it," said Becky.
To learn more about the Alma Center and the services they provide, visit their website.