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Undercover taskforce: Where criminals come to hang out

Much of the city's violence occurs in a small area
Posted at 8:30 PM, Nov 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-22 06:56:46-05

A small, two-mile section of Milwaukee is a meeting place for our areas most dangerous offenders. This area sees so much violence, even the feds are noticing.  

Center Street, a busy area for people on the north side of the city and for violence.

"The gangbanging, the drug selling, the prostitution, all that. All that is going on over here," said Sherry Rogers as she waited for her bus near Center Street.
"It's dangerous," said longtime resident Ebony Hughes.

So much so, police gave it a name, the Center Street Corridor.

"A lot of the bad guys commute to work here. Or they commute to socialize here and that's where we get them," said Chief Ed Flynn.

The city of Milwaukee is roughly 90 square miles. The Center Street Corridor is roughly 2.6 square miles of that.

The area spans from 16th Street to 51st Street and Burleigh Street to North Avenue.  Center Street is right in the middle.   

According to police:

  • 155 of all murders in the city happen in this area  
  • 11 percent of violent gun related crimes (including rape, robbery and aggravated assault)
  • 16 percent of illegal guns possessions

"Sixteen percent of those are in this little place. Two percent of the geography, Sixteen percent of armed bad guy arrests," Flynn said.

TODAY'S TMJ4 was along with the FBI-MPD gang task force for months as they worked the Center Street Corridor.

According to Flynn, chipping away at crime here drives down crime everywhere.

"What we are recognizing is these two square miles are wildly over-represented in the percentage of Milwaukee crime that they occurs there," Flynn said. "Keeping in mind that the offenders there, offend elsewhere. Wherever we take them off it's going to benefit some place."

According to the police stats in the city:

  • 19 percent of murders are down  
  • 12 percent of robberies are down
  • 2 percent of burglaries are down 

On the rise:

  • 13 percent of aggravated assaults are up

Some Center Street residents said they've noticed an improvement.

"It used to be worser than it is now," Rogers said.

Meanwhile, others said they see crime and violence continuing.  

"It's getting worse," said longtime resident Mark Young.

But most agree they want more people watching out in their neighborhood.

"It's getting there, you know but it's going to take a lot more work," Hughes said.