MILWAUKEE - According to the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office, the county is on track to surpass 200 homicides in 2020, something that's never happened before. The warning first came in the form of a tweet from MCMEO on Tuesday, Sept. 22. Now, community leaders working to put an end to the violence say they need all hands on deck to avoid the record high.
"Unfortunately, the data this year has been off the charts in terms of how sporadic and widespread the shooting and homicides have been," said Reggie Moore, director of Milwaukee's Office of Violence Prevention.
The numbers are startling, even to community leaders who track them each year.
"It's obviously disconcerting," said Moore.
If trends continue, Milwaukee County will see a record of more than 200 homicides in 2020 -- a far cry from last year's total.
In 2019, the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office investigated 130 homicides. As of the evening of Sept. 22, the county had already surpassed that -- at 150.
"This is an all hands on deck effort," said Moore.
Moore said domestic violence, housing insecurity and unemployment are all contributing factors.
"At the same time, we have also seen a significant increase of gun purchases at the beginning of the pandemic, so we have more firearms, more stress, more tension in our community," said Moore.
In the City of Milwaukee, there have been 134 homicides between Jan. 1, 2020 and Sept. 21, 2020 -- more than doubling the 65 homicides during the same time frame in 2019.
Last year, there were a total of 97 homicides in the city.
"If there's anything beyond a state of emergency, I think we're in it," said Carmen Pitre.
Sojourner Family Peace Center
Pitre, president of the Sojourner Family Peace Center said it's time people check in with one another, and hold each other accountable.
"I think at the heart of violence is disconnection from ourselves and other people," said Pitre. "We need to all be thinking, 'What's undone that we need to be doing differently?' How can we collaborate differently? How can we be talking to each other differently, and then we need all hands on deck."
According to the medical examiner, the current record for the county stands at 168 homicides in 2016.