MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee's acting police chief, Jeffery Norman, underlined that the MPD is committed to being involved with and supporting the work of the Community Justice Council during the council's virtual meeting on Wednesday morning.
He pointed to big issues in the city, like reckless driving and violence, and said a single entity can not improve safety and security. "It's important for us to all be at table to be able to have these conversations and figure out solutions in a collective manner," said Norman.
The chief also highlighted issue of guns being too available to children. On Tuesday night, a 9-year-old boy accidentally shot himself, and at last check was in critical condition.
"It's always disheartening to see our children being harmed or being killed by negligent handling of firearms," said the acting chief as he again pointed to the importance of collaboration. "Being in the forefront, and being in partnership with our community stakeholders to continue to have the messaging in regards to responsibility, and understanding that we all have a hand in making our community safe for our kids."
The chief pointed to the Violence Response, Public Health and Safety Team or VR-PFAST as one example of being proactive rather than reactive.
That team has identified an area of six square miles, from Capitol Drive to Vine and 50th to 10th Street, where they say approximately 40% of victims in homicides and fatal shootings so far in 2021are located. That's disproportionate. Based on Census data, only about 15% of Milwaukee's population lives in that area.
Now, VR-PFAST is crafting action items that will be assigned to action teams. It's all a part of trying to understand at a micro-level why violence is concentrated in that specific area, and on a larger scale, identifying challenges and opportunities to build up community response in Milwaukee.