MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee Police reported two homicides Sunday, after confirming the city had reached the 1991 record Thursday for most recorded homicides in one year.
MPD told TMJ4 News there were 165 homicides reported from Jan. 1 to Nov. 5 in 2020—compared to 82 recorded homicides during the same time period in 2019.
Police then reported three separate instances over the weekend.
Milwaukee Police say a woman died after witnesses reported hearing arguing and a gunshot near Teutonia and Keefe around 8 p.m. Sunday.
Shortly after 10 p.m. Saturday, MPD says a 28-year-old man was shot and killed in the 3700 block of N. 40th Street as he was trying to run away from two people investigators believe were trying to rob him.
Around 11:30 p.m. Saturday, Milwaukee Police say a 16-year-old boy was shot and killed near 15th and Lloyd.
Family members who said they did not want to be identified told TMJ4 News the boy's name is Damean Collins.
Community advocates blame the surge in homicides on the Covid-19 pandemic.
"It's created food insecurity, housing insecurity, unemployment and a lot of instability in families," said Reggie Moore, the director of Milwaukee's Office of Violence Prevention. "So the conditions that we traditionally see where we see concentrations of violence has now affected communities across the city."
Moore points out it's not just a problem in Milwaukee. Researchers with the Council on Criminal Justice studied 27 cities and found homicide rates among increased by 53 percent from June to August 2020 compared to the same time period in 2019.
Advocates in Milwaukee are working harder than ever to connect with families and communities affected by tragedy.
"Literally it’s a matter of life and death, when we are called we respond," said Hamid Al-Jabbar with 414LIFE.
Data from Milwaukee Police shows homicide numbers decreased each year from 2016 to 2019. In fact, data shows fewer than 100 homicides were recorded in both 2018 and 2019.
Moore called this year an anomaly. He said he believes outreach from many different organizations in Milwaukee, as well as federal and local funding, will make a difference.
"The vaccine for violence is investment in communities," Moore said.