Milwaukee crime down since 2009, but homicide increased 31 percent

Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn reported last week the city’s overall crime is down for the third consecutive year, decreasing by 10 percent from 2009 to 2010.

Crime rates dropped in every category other than homicide, which increased by 31 percent. All violent crimes were down seven percent from 2009 and 23 percent since 2007, according to an Milwaukee Police Department press release.

Flynn applauded the efforts of officers in helping decrease overall crime, but said the hike in homicides is disappointing.

“The most important thing about last year’s data is that there were too many murders,” Flynn said at the press conference. “There’s no question about that.

“While some homicides are more susceptible to police tactics than others, it is still the obligation of the police department to do its best to understand the dynamics of criminal violence in the city, explain what’s going on to the community and work to fashion solutions to those problems that are so identified.”

Flynn noted a large number of murder victims and suspects had criminal backgrounds. Of all homicide victims, 76 percent had criminal histories of at least 11 arrests. Eighty-six percent of identified suspects had criminal histories of at least eight arrests.

Furthermore, the number of domestic violence homicides increased, and the number of arguments resulting in murder doubled.

“It’s clear that there are too many firearms in the hands of violent, impulsive people,” Flynn said. “Therefore, working with City Hall and the Mayor’s Office, we have proposed a package of legislation to the state Legislature that we hope will make it more difficult for felons to procure firearms through straw purchasers and will significantly punish anyone caught illegally with a firearm.”

Following the city’s trend of falling overall crime, Marquette also saw a significant decrease in crime this past year, according to Captain Russell Shaw of the Department of Public Safety.

Shaw said there were only eight reported robberies to DPS in 2010. Compared to the 19 that were reported in 2008, that is a significant decrease. There were 11 reported robberies in 2009.

However, of the eight reported robberies in 2010, only three had student victims. The other incidents involved area businesses or individuals not affiliated with Marquette.

“It was one of the best years that we’ve had in the 25 years that I’ve been here,” Shaw said.

Shaw attributes successfully being able to keep students safe to Marquette’s continued support of the department.

The university has increased DPS’ size in recent years, giving them the ability to have more officers patrolling campus and making sure everyone is safe. The large amount of security cameras, along with the command center where an officer is always observing, makes a large difference.

“(University President the Rev. Robert A. Wild) has always supported our department,” Shaw said. “He doesn’t just talk the talk. He really makes it a number one priority and really walks the walk.”