Milwaukee leaders look to expand Alert Neighbor Program

NOW: Milwaukee leaders look to expand Alert Neighbor Program

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) --- The City of Milwaukee is expanding a neighborhood watch program. The goal is to increase safety, one block at a time. The city is hoping to spread the word about the Alert Neighbor Program.

District 6 Alderwoman Milele Coggs and District 15 Alderman Russell Stamper launched the Alert Neighbor Program. Officials say that it's because of the success so far that they are expanding.

The Alert Neighbor Program promotes collaboration but ultimately gives residents the tools to put the safety of their community in their own hands. "The police can't be there all the time, so you have to have your own accountability," said Hubbard Riley, a neighbor who is already involved in the program.

The program offers funding to Milwaukee neighborhoods to beef up safety and security measures. "That might include lighting, surveillance cameras and neighborhood watch signs. It also might include expert advice," said Mayor Cavalier Johnson.

City officials say the pilot round of the program has done well and now they are looking to expand. "When we started the pilot cause we knew it would be way more applications than 15. We worked with MPD and the neighborhood development corporation to develop criteria," said Alderwoman Coggs.

The collaboration between neighbors is what makes this work, according to city leaders.

"The key to this program is organization. Yeah, we're going to incentivize you with cameras and lights and whatever you like as a neighborhood to develop your budget, but the key is organization so individuals can work together," said Alderman Stamper.

Priority was given to the initial 15 neighborhoods part of the program based on high crime rates in their area. Now more neighborhoods are encouraged to apply.

In order to be eligible, your neighborhood must have at least eight households committed to forming a neighborhood task force that works with the city and Milwaukee Police.

Click here for more information on the program and how to apply.

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