PolitiFact Wisconsin: Is Murder up 57% in Milwaukee?

Posted at 6:41 PM, Jan 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-03 19:41:21-05

Numbers and percentages can be misleading and misconstrued, especially when it comes to Milwaukee's murder rate. 

Is it trending down or going up as Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently claimed. 

President Donald Trump's Attorney General popped into town in December to say Milwaukee would be getting two more federal prosecutors to help fight violent crime in the city. 

To hit home on that point, Sessions specifically high lighted Milwaukee's murder rate.    

"He says that murder in Milwaukee is up an astonishing 57 percent," said Tom Kertscher with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Sessions was talking about a two year time period but he was unclear on which two years. PolitiFact Wisconsin says that's a problem.

"From 20-14 to 20-16 murder in Milwaukee is up 57 percent," said Kertscher, "but that's misleading."

Here's why. In 2014 there were 90 murders in Milwaukee, that jumped to 141 in 2016.

PolitiFact Wisconsin says the murder numbers have recently dropped and the trend has changed. 

"The most recent two-year figures for Milwaukee show that from 20-15 to 20-17 murder is actually down 20 percent," said Kertscher. 

In 2015 there were 147 murders in Milwaukee and as of mid-December 2017 it was 118. 

"The key takeaway here is there was a peak in murder in Milwaukee in 2015," said Kertscher. "It's still at a relatively high rate, but it is trending downward."

PolitiFact Wisconsin rated this claim Mostly False, meaning there is an element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression.