Keeping tabs on the community: City officials walk the streets in an effort to protect them

MILWAUKEE -- When the sun sets, a lot of people on Milwaukee's south side do their best to get off the streets. Wednesday, July 6th city officials are concerned citizens were purposely walking the streets. They say they have to know their community in order to protect it.

It's one thing to talk about south side crime, it's another to walk the streets.

"They're surprised to see us sometimes, what are you doing out here so late," said Milwaukee Alderman Jose Perez.

As the sun sets on Wednesday, a group of city officials, including Milwaukee Alderman Jose Perez and District Attorney John Chisholm, began a walk through the neighborhood near 20th and Greenfield.

"The reason we do them at night is to get out see the neighborhood different aspect once it gets dark," said Perez.

They're looking for nuisance properties and loitering crowds. They're talking to neighbors about concerns that include reckless drivers, noise and just general quality of life.

"If our goal is to prevent crime in the first place you have to really understand the neighborhood dynamics," said John Chisholm.

"Around here a lot of it is prostitution related and that`s probably our number one complaint another problem is drug-related problems," said Sergeant Seann Cleveland.

The streets they're walking have a history of high-density crime.

Over the last 42 days, the six block radius has had eight aggravated assaults, eight shot spotter activations, two robberies, one burglary and one person shot.

"A lot of times we're in a squad car and we're just driving by it's hard to really slow down and engage in the community and this really allows us to do that," said Cleveland.

Also on the walk, is the Department of Neighborhood Services, area pastors and non-profit groups.

Perez says these walks have led to actual results.

"We've located, we've identified some hot spots, we've shut down some points of nuisance behavior of drug selling," said Perez.

Another goal of these walks is to identify the small problems before they turn into big ones.

Officials say 95% of the people they meet are good people who just want better quality for life.