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Top business leaders in Milwaukee discuss ways to reduce crime, step up security downtown

"We're spending close to $500,000 annually on security."
Top Milwaukee business leaders came together for roundtable discussion with the Milwaukee Business Journal
Posted at 5:32 PM, Feb 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-08 19:00:02-05

MILWAUKEE — Top business leaders are now speaking out about the state of crime in Milwaukee. More than a dozen CEO's of major Milwaukee companies came together as part of the Milwaukee Business Journal's downtown CEO roundtable event on Tuesday.

Kevin Newell is the founder of Royal Capital Group and was among more than a dozen business leaders that came together to talk about the issues they are facing.

The group owns several buildings in the downtown area, including the Five Fifty Lofts across from the Fiserv Forum.

Five Fifty Lofts across from the Fiserv Forum
Five Fifty Lofts across from the Fiserv Forum.

Many of the leaders are concerned about the uptick in crimes in the city.

According to the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD), the downtown area saw 524% increase in auto thefts from 2020 to 2021.

mpd auto thefts
According to the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD), the downtown area saw 524% increase in auto thefts from 2020 to 2021.

Newell said his firm is spending close to $500,000 annually on Milwaukee security. He said that is nearly three times what it used to be in years past.

One of the reasons he is having to invest in security is because of break-ins of cars parked in garages of residential apartments.

It's not only residents being impacted by the crime. Newell's personal comfort has also been disturbed.

Kevin Newell
Kevin Newell is the founder of Royal Capital Group

"I'm walking around with a different level of awareness," Newell said. "I'm walking around with a different level of security."

At the Milwaukee Public Market, Executive Director Paul Schwartz said they've made substantial investments in security.

"In the five figures in terms of how equipment is handled, upgrades in software, vehicles and ongoing staffing," Schwartz said.

 Paul Schwartz
Milwaukee Public Market Executive Director Paul Schwartz

Third Street Market Hall opened within the last month. Co-founder Omar Shaikh plans to increase security, and keep MPD officers close by.

"We are building a Milwaukee Police Department substation within the hall," Shaikh stated.

Beyond security measures, all three men believe the real work needs to be in educational opportunities for the youth.

Omar Shaikh
3rd Street Market Co-founder Omar Shaikh

"Opportunities we can have for some of the youth that maybe will guide them down a proper path," Schwartz said.

He also adds that the Milwaukee Public Market already has partnerships with Milwaukee Public Schools for students to take an elective course.

Shaikh adds that opportunities for youth in impoverished areas will lead to a lot of violence prevention.

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