MILWAUKEE — Shooting have skyrocketed in the city of Milwaukee, according to police. Acting Milwaukee Police Chief Jeff Norman says a big reason is the type of guns criminals can get their hands on.
Carl Allen Sr. has lived near Sherman Park for the last decade. The 70-year-old says he hears shots fired so regularly he almost doesn’t notice.
“It is so frequent around here. I’m not saying it should happen - it is unacceptable and something should be done about it,” said Allen.
Milwaukee Police Department says police districts 3, 5, and 7 have seen the biggest increases in shots fired incidents. And as a whole, the city is seeing a spike. MPD is using technology called ShotSpotter, which alerts police whenever a gun is fired in a neighborhood.
“We have seen a 34% increase in regards to activation and 25 increase in casings,” said Acting Chief Norman.
This past May, police were called to Midtown Market on Capitol Drive and found more than 300 bullet casings at one scene. A month later, just a few miles away at 29th and Cherry, police say they found 51 bullet casings at the scene of a murder. MPD says the problem is easy access to guns and high capacity firearms.
This year there has been a 27% increase in non-fatal shootings: 703 compared to 552 from the same time last year. In 2021, there have been 50,903 bullet casings recovered. At the same time in 2019, before the pandemic, 18,253 were recovered. That is a 179% increase in gunshots in the city.
Acting Chief Norman says they are working with community partners like 414 Life to try to intervene in conflicts before they turn into shootings. Milwaukee Police say violent crime is a top priority, but it will be a challenge with the less police.
“This is an all-hands-on-deck approach. We cannot be one group working on these particular issues,” said Norman.
Allen doesn’t know if more police officers is necessarily the solution. But he says changes need to be made to get the violence under control for his family.
“I would like the neighborhood to be safe for them, so they safely ride their bike down the street or blade without fear of what might happen to them,” said Allen.