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Why Are Homicide Rates up in Milwaukee?

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Wisconsin defense attorney, Wisconsin criminal lawyer, Wisconsin crime statisticsIn 2015, 160 people were killed in the city of Milwaukee, this is the highest number of homicides since the early nineties. This number is alarming to city and state officials, especially after there were only 86 homicide victims in Milwaukee in 2014, the lowest number the city had seen in years. This 69 percent increase in homicides is a larger increase than cities like St. Louis, Washington D.C., and Baltimore, which all received media attention due to homicide rates. Now, city and state officials are wondering what has caused the increase.

Why the Increase in Homicides?

“That is the million-dollar question,” says a leader of the Milwaukee Homicide Review Commission, an organization that studies homicides and incidents of gun violence in Milwaukee. Many trends in the city have remained constant. A majority of the victims were African-American men. Most of the victims were shot to death. Some victims were related. What exactly caused the dramatic increase in homicide this past year remains somewhat of a mystery. There are many different theories that have been discussed. Some Milwaukee residents say the problem stems from poverty. Some say segregation is the issue. Other reasons cited are easily accessible firearms, too much policing, or police are not doing enough.

Many politicians and political commentators have cited what has been labeled the “Ferguson effect” as a possible cause. After a high profile case, like that of a white police officer killing an unarmed black man in Ferguson, Missouri, police officers tend to receive negative media attention. This in turn, some theorize, could lead to police officers tending to back down from intense situations, which may explain the increase in homicide rates. The police chief of Milwaukee says that the suggestion that the city’s officers back down is false, but there was a public perception that they did, and that led to more reckless behavior and individuals interfering with police business. “The difference they have seen post-Ferguson disturbances is an emboldening of the same group of people that already are shooting each other.” Now, officials are calling for further research into the possible causes behind this significant spike in homicides. Researchers are continuing to collect data on murders in the city and are exploring the suggested possibilities behind them. “The numbers are just that - numbers,” says one specialist. “We really need to get behind the numbers and get to the stories.”

Facing Criminal Charges? You Need Help

If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges, including homicide or manslaughter charges, you need the help of a qualified Milwaukee criminal defense attorney. If you are facing homicide related charges, you could be looking at serious penalties like lengthy prison sentences and large fines. At the law firm of Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown LLP, our team has over 250 years of combined criminal defense experience, and our lawyers understand how to build a solid defense for our clients. Do not leave your future in the hands of the legal system. You need the help of an experienced attorney. Our team consists of former police officers, criminal prosecutors, and many other qualified criminal law litigators. Call 414-271-1400 to discuss your case with us today.



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