MILWAUKEE - As many businesses are shut down due to COVID-19, Milwaukee's Office of Violence Prevention is ramping up efforts. That is because we're seeing an increase in the number of violent crimes in the city amid the pandemic.
Reggie Moore, director of the Office of Violence Prevention, spoke at Marquette University's series, "On the issues" on Friday, Feb. 26. Moore said while there is a small number of people who contribute to a significant number of gun violence crimes, the pandemic made things worse.
"What we see particularly in 2020 is the conditions and the stress and the tension being exacerbated and so that small number starts to grow," Moore said.
Moore also said the level of non-fatal shootings is something people do not talk about enough.
"Last year 764 non-fatal shootings," Moore said.
In some neighborhoods, gun violence has become the norm.
"There are places in our community where gun violence has been so prevalent for so long and gone under-addressed for so long that it has created a sense of normalcy," Moore said.
Moore said from 2016 to 2019, Milwaukee had a steady decline in homicides and non-fatal shootings. 2020 reversed that trend.
"Poverty is a significant driver of violence," Moore said.
Moore's office is now stepping up awareness and prevention efforts in hopes of having the community in an all-hands-on-deck effort to turn 2021 around.
"How do we create a movement around this issue and not just throw up our hands and say violence is inevitable," Moore said.
Moore said he feels the state has been absent when it comes to gun violence prevention efforts. He is calling on Gov. Tony Evers to establish a task force and fund in violence prevention.