I believe there is much Milwaukee could stand to learn in terms of how to deal with the gun violence here. I disagree with “doubling down” on police officers in perceived higher crime areas. I suggest doubling down on the community to pick up the slack: policing themselves more seriously and taking it upon themselves to actively make their communities safer, rather than relying on the officers while simultaneously distrusting them.
If the community was policing itself to a higher degree, the community itself could work with the law enforcement since they inherently know their neighborhoods, streets and blocks better than the officers. The community knows itself better than any other outside agency. They know the people.
They know who the few “bad apples” are too. That is a core part of the problem as well. If we know who these few people are that are giving the community a bad rap then why do we NOT turn them in? If we know how bad gun violence is to our communities why aren’t more people taking the initiative to end this war zone we have in Milwaukee?
I am not advocating for “no police” or for “open carry” or any of that. I just want to see more community/street/block level efforts to end this. The communities must also understand communication pipelines will always be necessary with officers. Let us be realistic in knowing that. We can continue efforts to reform the police but we can help reduce police violence as well by reducing crime in our own communities. That would allow neighborhoods to have fewer officers patrolling, less subsequent contact and less chance for a harmful encounter to occur.
We must utilize their services, while holding them accountable to a higher extent due to their perceived authority/ethics; police ourselves and quit just hushing up when we see something wrong. We talk about wanting to solve these issues but then we do nothing to actually prevent them. If we can effectively act on reducing the violence and the crime within our communities themselves, why aren’t we?
Cameras on phones aren’t only capable of stopping police violence and starting a dialogue from the negative footage they can catch. We should also be utilizing phones to call out all injustices we see and let the public and the authorities decide whether or not a crime has occurred. We should be recording the instances of violence we see and sharing them with authorities in an attempt to make sure the violence isn’t perpetuated. Use our phones, cameras and access to technology to help reduce the negative issues plaguing Milwaukee.
We must also realize that the violence is increased in certain neighborhoods not only due to the historic racial disparity of Wisconsin and of Milwaukee, but as a direct result of poverty. When there is low employment, crime increases. Violence occurs. Unfortunately people perish. But when politicians decide to put the squeeze on social programs meant to uplift the community —not just financially but culturally—they are directly adding to the violence.
We live here, and many of these politicians no longer do. So we need to hold them just as accountable as we would the police or the members of our community. When they fail us we need to shine a light on their faults and demand positive changes and outcomes. We can no longer just sit out and watch what is occurring in the political arena from the sidelines. We must wage war for justice simultaneously, swiftly and with solidarity. We must not shy away from what is necessary to take back our communities.
We cannot reduce the violence with half-hearted efforts by the community OR politicians. We cannot reduce the violence on only the block and street level OR the committee hearings and proceedings. We must all take it upon ourselves to combat the root causes of the violence. We must take it upon ourselves to fight for justice on both the micro-level and the macro-level, and the spectrum between both. The battle to cure gun violence and other violence lies within ourselves, our communities, our local, state and national government. If we want change we have to be the change, now. Stop waiting for someone else to end the violence in Milwaukee.
If we want our neighborhoods to regain their old glory, and our children to have a better Milwaukee to live in tomorrow, we must act today.