The Milwaukee Homicide Review Commission (MHRC) released its 2016 Annual Report analyzing the causes and risk factors behind homicides and non-fatal shootings in the city of Milwaukee.
“We have to look at violence and injuries just as we look at the spread of illness and disease, by using data to understand and track its impact and then target public health interventions,” said Mallory O’Brien, Ph.D., Homicide Review Commission Director. “Our intent in releasing this report is to further drive and support the collaborative work underway to formally establish a multi-sector, coordinated approach to prevent violence in Milwaukee.”
In 2016, the homicide rate for the city of Milwaukee was 23.3 per 100,000 residents, a slight decrease from 24.3 per 100,000 recorded in 2015. Based on date of injury, MHRC recorded 139 homicides and 555 nonfatal shooting victims in 2016. This represents a 51% increase in firearm-related homicides, but an 11% decline in nonfatal shooting victims from 2006 to 2016.
“After a steady decline in homicides over the last decade, 2015 and 2016 have seen unacceptable levels of shootings and homicides in our community, a trend that has also impacted other cities nationwide,” said John Chisholm, Milwaukee County District Attorney. “The success of a coordinated approach to violence prevention is dependent on data like this that allows us to understand the factors contributing to violence in our neighborhoods and effectively target interventions.”
The 2016 analysis takes a public health approach to violence prevention, providing data on contributing circumstances to homicides and non-fatal shootings, analysis of victim and suspect demographics, as well as data on socioeconomic status, educational attainment, and other factors that influence violence in the city.
“The data from this report should inform all partners who are committed to taking strategic, coordinated steps to reduce and prevent violence in our community,” said Commissioner of Health Bevan K. Baker. “The forthcoming Blueprint for Peace, a community-driven violence prevention plan, incorporates much of the MHRC’s data in identifying where the epidemic of violence is concentrated and where solutions should be prioritized.”
Established in 2005, MHRC is an interagency collaboration of public health, law enforcement, criminal justice, and community service professionals committed to better understanding and informing the work to reduce violence in Milwaukee through a multi-disciplinary review process. Along with homicide case reviews, the MHRC conducts domestic violence reviews, sentinel event reviews, and, in partnership with Aurora Health Care, sexual assault case reviews. This body of work has served as a model for jurisdictions across the country through a national homicide review training and technical assistance program created and delivered through support from the U.S. Department of Justice COPS Office.
“The Milwaukee Homicide Review Commission is a national model and remains one of our greatest assets in closely examining and responding to violence in our community,” said Tom Reed, First Assistant State Public Defender. “It relies upon rigorous data-driven analysis coupled with strong collaborative partnerships to identify effective responses across multiple agencies responsible for public safety and well-being. Everyone has an important role to play in addressing violence.”