Milwaukee violence prevention director: 'Everyone has a role'

Over the past few weeks, Milwaukee has seen a string of violence.

Arnitta Holliman, the newly-appointed director of the city's Office of Violence Prevention, spoke with FOX6 News Thursday, May 20 about some of the ways she plans to reduce crime.

Holliman is no stranger to Milwaukee.

"I was born here. I've been here all my life. I did Milwaukee Public Schools. I did my college, undergrad and grad, at Marquette," Holliman said.

Holliman said she is a good fit as the Office of Violence Prevention's newest director because she has a background in mental health clinical psychology – but that's not all.

"I've worked in a prison setting. I've worked with youth. I've worked with domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking," said Holliman.

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According to the Milwaukee Police Department, there have been 60 homicides and 289 non-deadly shootings through May 19 of this year, compared to 59 homicides and 144 non-deadly shootings at the same time in 2020.

"The isolation of the pandemic, the loss – loss of jobs, loss of family and friends, loss of community members – I believe all had an impact on the violence that we're seeing," Holliman said.

"What's going to be critical is that we are out in the community. We are continuing to partner and that we're doing some of the stuff in terms of events that are happening."

Holliman says violence prevention is the responsibility of all.

"It may seem like something you can't tackle, but everyone has a role and when we all take responsibility, we can get a lot more done," said Holliman.

Holliman also wants to focus on domestic violence and suicide prevention and hopes her office can eventually expand. She says that also means more funding is needed for the office.

"I would not do this work if I did not believe change was possible," she said. 

Holliman replaces Reggie Moore who left the position last month after serving as director since 2016. 

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