Milwaukee leaders make plea for a safe summer going into Memorial Day weekend

NOW: Milwaukee leaders make plea for a safe summer going into Memorial Day weekend

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and other local organizations are joining together to help reduce crime in Milwaukee ahead of the summer. They are calling for peace and plans to intervene in communities this holiday weekend.

“It’s our goal here in Milwaukee to make this summer as safe as possible," Mayor Tom Barrett said.

Mayor Barrett highlighted Memorial Day weekend as the unofficial start to the summer. It's a season when violence plagues the city. 

“Historically we know there have been a number of shootings over the Memorial Day holiday weekend," Arnitta Holliman said. She is the director of the Milwaukee Office of Violence Prevention. 

Mayor Barrett, the Milwaukee Office of Violence Prevention and community partners outlined their game plan to help curb violence during a press conference on Friday, May 28.

“We understand it’s a disease, it’s transmittable, it’s contagious, so we want to approach that in a way that we’re dealing with both the root symptoms, we working on prevention," Holliman said. 

Three people were shot Thursday night, May 26 near 5th and Lapham. One person was killed.

There have been 62 homicides and 309 non-fatal shootings in 2021 from January 1 to May 27 -- compared to 61 homicides and 162 non-fatal shootings in 2020 during the same period.

“What you don’t see is the violence that doesn’t happen, and so the414LIFE team credible messengers are out making sure things don’t happen and those are the numbers you’ll never see," Holliman said. 

The 414LIFE intervention team will be in working in different areas of the city the entire holiday weekend. This includes talking to people at several county parks about how to de-escalate conflict. Between 10:30 p.m. and 12:30 a.m., the team will show up around nightclubs and bars.

“We’re both hopeful and prepared for our foremost efforts preventing harm this Memorial Day weekend," said Derrick Rodgers, 414LIFE program director.

"I recognize that this is a very serious problem and we are going to put additional resources into this," said Barrett. 

Mayor Barrett says he will be meeting with more city leaders next week to talk about programs they're implementing to help the city’s youth.

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