"The police are more on it than they ever were:" Three Milwaukee neighborhoods earn national safety awards

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Citizens and police have come together to combat crime, and that's earned three Milwaukee neighborhoods competitive national awards!

The Milwaukee Police Department, Riverworks Development Corporation and Holton Youth + Family Center received competitive national awards (amounting to $15,000 each) from MetLife Foundation and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) for their exemplary partnerships to improve community safety. The awards are for work done in the Harambee, Riverwest and Washington Park neighborhoods.

This is the first time one city has received three MetLife Foundation Community-Police Partnership Awards in a single year since the awards were founded in 2002.  This year, more than 560 police departments and community organizations around the country applied for the recognition, and Milwaukee has received three of eleven awards.

Many hope what has been done in these neighborhoods it is just the beginning of a big transformation.

"Every day, children playing and then gunshots right across their heads. People come out of their house and one house is fighting another house, and it`s a shoot out just like in the Wild West. We don`t see that anymore," Barbara Hicks, who lives near 2nd and Keefe said.

"You don`t hear so much shooting, the police are more on it than they ever were. They`re on bicycles, they`re walking," Hicks said.

These national awards mean people like Hicks and Milwaukee police officers are working together, and it's paying off.

"What they do know is Ms. Hicks is going to tell everything. I`m not afraid of anybody because I serve the Almighty God that protects my house," Hicks said.

Plaques were presented to the Milwaukee Police Department, Riverworks Development Corporation and the Holton Youth + Family Center. The honors are for gang prevention, youth safety and neighborhood revitalization.

"We`re creating a network of safe places where people can truly begin to work towards the American dream," Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn said.

Hicks says less crime means more people taking pride in their property. She hopes the changes will continue, but says they've already made a world of difference.

"I think right now, we`re in a pretty good place, because I`m not afraid to walk out and get in my car at night," Hicks said.

A second event will be held in December to recognize United Methodist Children’s Services on behalf of Washington Park Partners, the third local MetLife Foundation Award recipient with the Milwaukee Police Department.

READ IT: Press release announcing Milwaukee Neighborhoods Named for Three National Safety Awards