A murderous future

July 16, 2015

Milwaukee is on its way to becoming a major US city. The city boasts two CSI3professional sports teams, Bucks and Brewers. The city plays host to two major colleges, Marquette and University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. Milwaukee also has various tourist attractions, Mitchell Park Domes, Potawatomi Casino. Milwaukee is working to add the final component: a high murder total.
In all fairness the 80 plus murders committed in Milwaukee last year is not a high total. Not when you look at cities like Chicago, Detroit or New York. But for a city that is only a thirteenth the size of New York City the number is impressive. To date in 2015, the Milwaukee homicide number is only two away from surpassing the total from 2014.
The population of Milwaukee will never match places like New York or even Chicago. There just isn’t enough land or development. It would be unrealistic to expect Milwaukee to reach the status of these two metropolitan areas. Milwaukee’s population is closer to that of another murderously famous city, Detroit. I can hear a gasp resounding from the Milwaukee area.
Milwaukee has around 599,000 people. Detroit has roughly 688,000 people residing in their borders. Detroit is known for the auto industry and as the Murder Capital of the World. The latter is how most people view Detroit. Milwaukee’s murder count over the last few years is nowhere near Detroit’s. But let’s look at how Milwaukee matches up to the Motor City so far in 2015.
Milwaukee killers went on a spree during the last few weeks. At one point there were 10 homicides in seven days. That put the number of murders at 84 in Milwaukee. As of June 7, 2015 there had been 115 homicides in Detroit. That number has probably changed but can you see the similarity? Milwaukee is almost keeping up with the city known for killing in the streets. In all fairness to Detroit, the homicide total was down last year.
Milwaukeeans, relax and take a deep breath. Detroit still had a total of 300 murders last year. That number is almost four times the number of homicides in Milwaukee last year. But don’t relax too much, my Milwaukee friends. The way the homicide number is growing in Milwaukee is cause for alarm. Detroit is known for murders, Milwaukee is known for beer. But will that soon change?
The issues of Milwaukee and Detroit are like night and day. Detroit is a rebuilding city with major issues. Milwaukee is a prosperous city that is supposedly a great place to live. Milwaukee hasn’t reached murder capital status and hopefully never will. Milwaukee isn’t even mentioned when high murder rate cities are talked about. How can Milwaukeeans keep it this way?
One thing I can tell you is marching and praying doesn’t work. In Detroit since the 1980’s this tactic has been tried several times. Prominent ministers have called for a stop to the violence repeatedly and you see how that worked. Politicians have passed laws to keep guns off the streets and criminals in jail in Detroit. You see how that worked. African Americans crying on television doesn’t work. In the 90’s murder wasn’t a major story on the news in Detroit.
Milwaukee people, look at Detroit and learn. Understand what didn’t work in Detroit and find something that will work in Milwaukee. Be grateful that your city isn’t as violent as Detroit. But don’t relax too much. There is not a lot of numbers between 84 and 115. But those numbers represent lives and that’s what matters.

Frank James IV © 2015

The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the writer and not of the Milwaukee Times Weekly Newspaper or NCON Communication, its staff or management. Being Frank is a bi-weekly column exclusive to the Milwaukee Times Weekly Newspaper.