Milwaukee Commission Looks Into 2015's Sharp Homicide Rise

Milwaukee’s Homicide Review Commission has released its annual report, taking a deeper look at the causes of the previously reported death toll. The city saw 145 homicides in 2015.

Commission director Mallory O’Brien said one reason murders in the city increased 69 percent last year is that there were more arguments that turned fatal with easy access to weapons.  

“It might be over something silly, it might be over a woman, it might be lots of different things. Someone disrespected somebody,” O’Brien said. “Then, there’s a gun present and someone is shot or killed.”

The commission is looking at programs that might help ease tensions, she said.

“Who’s doing what around anger management, conflict resolution and mediation, to identify where are gaps?” she said.

O’Brien said Milwaukee is also trying to reach out to more young people, for their ideas on preventing violence.

Retaliation and drug-related homicides were also up last year, as were murders involving multiple parties, according to O’Brien. Non-fatal shootings rose 9 percent.

Consistent with other years, the majority of victims were African-American males, between ages 15 and 29, who lived in poorer neighborhoods.

O’Brien said that so far in 2016, homicides are down a little, while non-fatal shootings are about even with last year at this time.