New safety network focuses on crime prevention in Walker's Point

MILWAUKEE -- A new, volunteer-led effort seeks to prevent crime in Walker's Point. 

It's called the Walker's Point Safety Network and it was created in May after a series of meetings between police and community stakeholders earlier this year. 

Harvey Kurtz, one of the volunteer leaders of the safety network, said crimes in Walker's Point primarily consist of vandalism like cars being damaged or broken into. 

He said there are certain parking lots around the area that crooks routinely target. 

"The problem we often have, with window smashing in particular, is a cynical attitude from victims that calling police doesn't make a difference," Kurtz said. "But we are absolutely sure that it does make a difference." 

Kurtz said the victims of such crimes have to make sure they're being properly reported -- so police have data on the incidents. 

In an effort to make sure neighbors are reporting crimes the right way, the Walker's Point Safety Network printed out thousands of small cards detailing how to call the police non-emergency number and then press "9" to speak with a dispatcher. 

Kurtz said the data reported through that channel determines how, when and where police patrol certain neighborhoods. 

"We want more bike police, more walking police, and more nighttime police," Kurtz said. 

"People can work with MPD to report the data so that police develop an idea of where it's happening, when it's happening, and then improve their enforcement efforts," he added. 

Kurtz said the cards are being distributed at events like local festivals and public meetings. 

Some businesses are handing them out also. 

Volunteers also recently started the process of mapping out where all external surveillance cameras in Walker's Point are located. 

Kurtz said that, when all cameras are located and mapped out, police should have an easier time quickly accessing surveillance video of crimes. 

Kurtz hopes that will help MPD catch criminals, as well as keep track of problematic areas. 

As part of the effort to locate and map out the cameras, Kurtz said volunteers are also working with business owners to make sure footage from each camera is easily accessible at all times. 

"We talk with the business owners and say, 'Can you always have the information on how to access your camera available at this location? Even if you aren't here,'" Kurtz said. 

Alderman Jose Perez, who's district includes Walker's Point, called the safety network primarily an education campaign. 

"We're going to continue to build up this network," Perez said. 

He said the goal is to get the entire area in tune with crime prevention measures. 

Perez added he's supportive of the effort to keep track of area surveillance cameras.

He said surveillance images played a key role in helping police identify the suspect in a break in at a Walker's Point apartment building last month

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