Racine police chief discusses crime reduction strategies, community engagement

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RACINE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The Racine Police Department got a new chief this past summer, and he says their clearance rate -- when it comes to solving crimes -- is higher than the national average. 

But what is the department doing to make that happen?

Maurice Robinson has been chief for seven months, coming from Cincinnati. He says he understands what it takes to reduce crime, but it starts with the community.

There have been nine homicides in Racine this year, compared to five in 2020.

"While there is an increase, it's single digits and we have a significantly high closure rate, higher than the national average," Chief Robinson said.

Of those nine homicides, seven were cleared by arrest.

Racine Police Chief Maurice Robinson says the department uses all of its resources to make sure they don't have a list of unsolved murders.

"It comes down to very basic, good and thorough police work, the ability to do interviews, the ability to gather any kind of information that's available to us in terms of video, and video is very, very helpful."

He says teens are the victims and the offenders. 

"When you combine a younger person with poor impulse control and a firearm, there's never going to be a good outcome," Robinson said. 

That's why the chief says community engagement is key, leaving their desks and connecting with the youth.

"Have conversations with teachers and young people to try to discourage getting engaged in violence."

"It's not just a one agency problem that can solve it," said Racine County Violence Prevention Supervisor Maurice Horton. "I think that we have to ban together."

Horton, along with the police department, will soon be working with the national organization Voices of Black Women United, a group of surviving mothers of gun violence victims.

"Just starting this movement of hey, we have to take back our kids, we have to take back our community," Horton said.

"Our job is to work with different members of the community and the organizations to make sure we are engaging in the kind of problem-solving and crime reduction that provides for a high quality of life," said Robinson.

Chief Robinson says this summer they are extending community center hours. He says he hopes this will help give teens an outlet.

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