MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) — Families of the victims, community leaders and city officials gathered on the North Side of the city on Tuesday evening in the latest attempt to understand the rise in deadly violence.
The number of homicides so far this year has risen to 50, more than double the total this time last year. Invitations to this community chat were first sent out last week, since then five more homicides have been added to the total at the start of this deadly week.
People are grieving, scared and desperate, and despite the obvious problems, no solution seems to work.
There have been so many murders in Milwaukee this year that it’s sadly hard to keep track of them all. The total is 50 so far. Last year, which eventually saw a record 193 homicides, the total on March 29 was just 24.
Milwaukee Fire Chief Aaron Lipski said, “We are handling a volume of 911 calls that we have never seen before in the city of Milwaukee.”
And a Milwaukee police officer told those gathered, “We face non-stop violence from the time we start work until we finish work, and it’s a 24-hour cycle.”
Tuesday’s “Break the Silence” rally called for change, more conversation and more community.
Jamal Smith of the city’s Office of Violence Prevention said: “It requires every entity in this community to be engaged. This means faith-based institutions, academic centers, social service providers, health providers mental.”
The problems have long been evident, but the causes are complex.
State Representative Supreme Moore Omokunde, a Democrat representing part of Milwaukee, said: “We know anxiety is skyrocketing, depression is skyrocketing, mental health issues of all kinds have skyrocketed. “
Gun violence has a huge price. Smith said it costs the United States an average of $34.8 million per day.
Smith said: “We are now past the point of thoughts and prayers, just the point of thoughts and prayers. Now we must activate our faith in work and action”
But the human cost hurts more. So to break the cycle, they call for conversations first, at home and in the community.
Community activist Tracey Dent said, “If they don’t get love at home, they’ll get it on the streets. And the streets don’t love anybody.”