"I hope I'm wrong:" Milwaukee alderman fears crime may grow this summer

MILWAUKEE -- "Fearful of what the summer has in store." That is the warning from Milwaukee Alderman Bob Donovan.

Milwaukee Alderman Bob Donovan

"For a longtime now, the Milwaukee Police Department has been operating short staff," Donovan said.

As a member of the Public Safety Committee, Donovan says the Milwaukee Police Department has 120 fewer officers responding to calls for service than this time last year. The number of officers has been on a steady decline since 2008.

"We all realize during the warmer weather, calls for service go through the roof. A lot of activity people are out. Sadly, in a significant number of our, for some of our neighborhoods, that could lead to criminal activity," Donovan said.

Milwaukee Alderman Bob Donovan

Donovan says one reason for the decline is officers are retiring at a much higher rate than expected. Increasing funding for the department is another challenge. He fears pending lawsuits against the city and the employee pension system will make it difficult to hire additional officers.

"It's up to this council and this mayor to give the department the resources it needs," Donovan said.

Alderman Donovan says the most common calls for service in the month of April are car crashes, unlawful entry, battery and restraining order violations that are now up 50 percent from the month of March. It's a number Donovan thinks will continue to increase in the summer.

Milwaukee Alderman Bob Donovan

"I hope I'm wrong when I say we're in for a tough summer. But a lot of the evidence points to the fact that we may have some difficult challenges this summer," Donovan said.

Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn issued the following statement on this story:

"The Alderman correctly identifies the challenges MPD confronts balancing sometimes competing demands from the community with the capacity to effectively respond to them. Certainly the wave of retirements was not unpredicted. But the city's ability to 'over fill' police positions in anticipation of these retirements was guided by fiscal constraints. We will continue to hire officers with the support of the Mayor, Common Council and the Fire and Police Commission to address this important issue."

FOX6 News has yet to hear back from Mayor Tom Barrett on the alderman's concerns.