Alarming statistics, devastating consequences: MPD task force committed to reducing juvenile crime
MILWAUKEE -- There has been an explosion of car thefts committed by young people in Milwaukee. The statistics are alarming, and the consequences often devastating. It has led Milwaukee police to dig deeper in an effort to fight juvenile crime.
Over the past year, there have been a growing number of crimes committed by children. The Milwaukee Police Department has seen a 163% increase in juvenile arrests between 2011 and 2015.
"They are putting themselves in very dangerous situations. Solving the problem, I think, is going to take a whole community approach," Kyle McFatridge, crime analyst said.
A special Milwaukee Police Department task force has been formed.
"We need information and we need to share it with all of our partners as best we can in real time," Sgt. Adam Grochowski said.
Sgt. Grochowski and McFatridge are part of the team.
"We find it`s useful to gather together partners, all the stakeholders so we can have a face-to-face conversation," Grochowski said.
They're partnering with various agencies like the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office, holding weekly meetings, gathering statistics and studying juvenile behaviors.
One of the most prolific crimes among youth they're seeing is an explosion of auto thefts over the past two years.
Kyle McFatridge and Adam Grochowski
"They do it because they`re impressing their friends. They`re impressing girls," McFatridge said.
These task force members are finding that consequences aren't deterrents for these young people -- even when these incidents end in death.
In April 2015, 15-year-old Marco Hilson was accused of carjacking a woman, before fleeing from police in a stolen vehicle.
"Ran through a red light, crashed into four other cars, went 25 feet through the windshield," McFatridge said.
Hilson was pronounced dead at the scene, near a mangled vehicle at 60th and Capitol.
"It's another example, again, of how dangerous this is becoming," McFatridge said.
Crash that killed Marco Hilson
Since November 1st, 2015, there have been seven such cases where car thefts have ended in death.
"On January 23rd, DeAnthony Parks," McFatridge said.
16-year-old Parks died at Port Washington and Capitol Drive. Police said a stolen SUV flipped and slammed into a home. The SUV landed on its roof.
"He dies in this vehicle," McFatridge said.
Other passengers in the vehicle took off.
"The juvenile offenders themselves are putting themselves at risk by their behavior," Grochowski said.
N. Port Washington Road and Capitol Drive
These are the behaviors police say may take an entire city to change.
"It`s not just the police department that can solve this problem, but the community itself, the families, the District Attorney`s Office, the juvenile justice system, both the county and the state coming together, working together, so we can help stem back this tide," McFatridge said.
"We need to get out in front of this now," Grochowski said.
This is a major problem people at the state and local level are working to change.
Just last week, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett announced a plan to have two analysts from MPD track repeat juvenile offenders as they work their way through the justice system with the goal of figuring out what needs to change so these kids can make better choices.