Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Police Chief Ed Flynn announced a new effort Tuesday to help reduce crime and improve traffic safety in the city.
"When car stops go up, shootings, robberies and car thefts go down. When car stops go down, shootings robberies and car thefts go up," explained Chief Flynn.
So, the department plans to increase patrols in certain areas of the city based on data they've collected about three major issues: car thefts, violent crimes, and traffic accidents. Officials say they've found certain areas where those three issues coincide. Now, they have a $150,000 grant from Wisconsin to fund an increase in traffic stops.
"Many of [the people stopped] have been identified as some very bad actors in the community," explained Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton. "[Police] have been able to confiscate weapons and a lot of other things by doing this type of traffic stop."
So, Milwaukee Police have determined high crime areas. That's where they plan to put more personnel for traffic stops primarily. But, they'll also take neighbor complaints into consideration.
Chief Flynn addressed the fact that criminals pulled over for a traffic stop may speed away, causing a more dangerous traffic situation. He said that remains a challenge, noting many of the people driving recklessly, especially in stolen cars, are teens not recognizing the potentially fatal consequences of their action.
"When reckless driving of stolen cars increases, it stands to reason we're going to have more crashes," said Chief Flynn. But, he explained Milwaukee Police have a policy to only pursue people or vehicles that have been involved in violent crime.