MILWAUKEE — Data from the Milwaukee Police Department shows non-fatal shootings have nearly doubled from this same time last year. From January 1- April 1 2020 there were 86 non-fatal shootings. This year, during that same time period, there have been 153 non-fatal shootings.
Community activist Tracey Dent said the numbers are devastating. He and city leaders are calling on everyone in the city to help prevent gun violence.
"We have to start stepping up, telling our family members don't do that. It's not worth it. Let's find an alternate solution for this," Dent said.
Reggie Moore, the director of the Milwaukee Office of Violence Prevention, said 54% of the non-fatal shootings this year happened within a 5.5 square mile area, between Capitol Dr., Vine St., 48th St. and 10th St.
According to Homicide Review Commission Data, 75% of the shooting incidents occurred outside and 20% were drug-involved. Motives primarily include arguments, retaliation and road rage.
Moore also said that many of the shooting victims and suspects know each other.
"If you know of a conflict or situation where violence has been threatened or violence has been attempted, we want to deescalate. Call our 414Life hot line for help in terms of mediating these situations," Moore said.
The lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic may be partially to blame for the rise in gun violence.
"There are still families struggling. There are still communities that are still coming out of the economic and social impact that the pandemic caused," Moore said.
Dent also says the pandemic has played a role in increasing stress and tension, but said the issue of gun violence goes beyond this moment in history.
"We really have to focus on the root cause of what's effecting all the shootings, all of the domestic violence issues," Dent said. He listed poverty as one of those root causes.
Both Dent and Moore said collaboration across the city is needed to address the prevention side of this issue.
On the other side of gun violence, Janice Gorden with Victims of Milwaukee works with victims and their families. She says it's important not to forget what the numbers represent.
"It's a whole life, it's a while family and a ripple effect. It's a tragedy," Gorden said. "It's a hurt, it's a brokenness that is so devastating across the board.