MILWAUKEE, Wisc., (SPECTRUM NEWS) -- Milwaukee leaders gathered on Milwaukee's South Side ahead of the Fourth of July holiday weekend to update residents on increased violence in the city.
City leaders like Mayor Tom Barrett are calling on all residents to help stop violence throughout the Independence Day weekend and moving forward.
“This is really something that the police can’t do; we don’t have enough police to have one every corner of the city and quite honestly I don’t think many people want them on every corner of the city," he says.
The city had experienced four years in a row of declining violence; however this year a surge of crime is rocking the city as numbers grow. There is a 100 percent increase in homicides according to city-data. Since the start of 2020, there have been 86 homicides in total. Last year, there were 43. Non-fatal shootings in the city have also increased by 50 percent this year.
Milwaukee Alderman Cavalier Johnson is asking Milwaukee residents to transform their energy into positive actions to help the city become better and safer.
“During a holiday weekend like this when the sun is shining...kids should be safe...neighborhoods should be safe...people shouldn’t have to worry about having a BBQ and violence breaking out in their neighborhoods. So we have to use all of that positive energy and use it for good," says Johnson.
The Director of the Milwaukee Office of Violence Prevention is reminding members of the community of the power they have to prevent violence.
“The best and most urgent peacemakers we need are in every family and every neighborhood, at every event, because you see the things escalating before anyone else gets there," says Reggie Moore.
Anti-violence outreach groups in the city, such as 414 LIFE, are on the streets working to raise awareness and help communities heal to end violence by tackling the root of the problem.
“If you don’t respect your life how are you gonna respect somebody else’s life? I lived in an era when violence was crazy on the South Side. I took a lot from this community, so now I’m trying to give something back. So we need everyone to start giving back to ourselves…we owe it to ourselves," says Ray Mendoza of 414 LIFE.
City officials say police will be out this holiday weekend in an effort to respond quickly and prevent crime. However, they hope residents maintain peace and increased law enforcement is not necessary.