Violence pushes the best out of Milwaukee

I REMOVED this resident's name. She sent this letter to Mayor Tom Barrett and Milwaukee Common Council members.  I have no doubt her cries will fall on deaf ears.  This is what happens.  Good people leave.  Bad people stay.  Milwaukee, you need an INTERVENTION.

Mayor and Common Council members:

Another homicide occurred in my neighborhood two days ago. I know all of you are aware of this as the victim was a city worker. I am saddened by this event and more frightened than ever because of it. Things like this had not happened so close to my home for many years but now are a common occurrence. I have seen a steep decline in my community over the past five years. I have attempted to get someone's attention - ANYONE who would listen. Thank you, Bob Donovan, for hearing my concerns. 


I accepted living on N. 25 St. and W. Walnut St. as a challenge when I first moved here about 26 years ago. I had a passion for making a difference somewhere. I jumped into this role, feet first. I have done my best to make a difference somewhere, somehow, no matter how small. Besides being a community organizer, I have stopped many crimes in progress here. I lost count of how many domestic abuse assaults I have intervened on - there have been many. In one incident, the suspect was trying to kill the unborn baby of a woman by beating her. He beat her unconscious. I risked my life to save hers. Sadly, many drove by without offering a hand. This is the level of depravity that exists here. In addition, I, too, have been a victim of crime. I lost count of that number as well although I know it is over 20. Sadly, property crimes are commonplace here. Homicides were NOT common though and over the past five years, that has changed. It is now too close to home. Unfortunately, eventually my husband and I will be leaving Milwaukee due to the lack of your concern for us. We have stayed to be part of the solution but with no help from you, we will move. I feel sad for those who are stuck here and will not have that same opportunity. Their only asset is their home which they will get very little for if they should sell. They cannot afford to leave. For those of you who represent more affluent constituents, I know of some in your areas who have left because of the crime. The thought of fleeing is not just from those in my neighborhood.


Today I am wondering, where are my city leaders are as crime is soaring in my neighborhood? I am sick and tired of my “leaders” being more concerned about people paying too much for possessing pot and building a streetcar for the up-and-comers than they are about the killing taking place. You are rolling the dice with those of us who have a vested interest in the city. With the madness taking place in my community, I wonder if I am the only one who really cares. That is why I am speaking out. Your lack of action and silence speaks volumes. It is deafening!


Besides the homicides, I have witnessed an up-swing with other crimes. My teens are not allowed to drive in my neighborhood for fear they will be hit by the usual ‘I-don’t-need-to-follow-any-laws’ culprit or worse yet, be carjacked like "Ziggy". Now, after this event on Cherry St., I know this is just not being overly protective - it is a reality here. What teen doesn’t wish to drive independently once they get their license? Mine can’t out of fear for their safety.

The quality of life here in my community has been diminishing for years. I had high hopes for making a difference but can’t when all I get are the leaders who are just in it for themselves. Leadership does not mean you go along with the program. Great leaders make difficult decisions and yes, may make some that are not favorable to all but are best for the majority. Unfortunately, most of you collect your paycheck, doing what you can to get by and get your votes.


What is the solution? I hear nothing other than you in office playing the blame game. Poverty is the number one excuse. Continue to play nice when children are dying not only in the streets of Milwaukee but also the beds they share. They are being raised in violent households by parents who couldn’t give a damn as to whether or not their offspring can read or write, by parents who could care less about instilling values and morals in their children, by parents who fail to give their children hope. Poverty does not mean one cannot be taught self-control, care and concern for others, responsibility. Teaching values and morals are free as is getting an education. Learning is the key to freedom from poverty yet we allow kids to be chronically truant, allow excuses by parents as to why their children are not in school, and accept that parents have NO involvement in their children’s education or upbringing. A recent article regarding the black students dropping out at UW-Milwaukee shows how ill prepared they are for college after being promoted through school and graduate. We are failing these youth! Leaders, it is NOT the governments’ responsibility to raise children. It is the parents’. They are a parent by CHOICE. When parents fail to meet their responsibility, THEN it is your turn to step in and swiftly. Stepping in does NOT mean we need to ignore the issue. It is not government’s job to enable, to coddle.


There is utter chaos in my community – there is no law and order – just a free-for-all for the criminals. In case you would like to know, here is a run-down on what has been going on within a two block radius of my home since I last sent you the attached emails. Do you have these things going on in your neighborhood?

-  I was an unfortunate spectator to the outcome of 2015's homicide #75 at 9:30 PM on Thurs., 07/02/15. Two men were shooting it out on W. Lisbon Ave. over road rage and one died. My wonderful neighbors a block over had just completed updating the exterior of their home when two bullets struck the side of their home. Fortunately, they were not injured or worse, killed. They have two young children in the home.

-  On 1/3/16 starting at 2:20 AM, a subject, later identified as a resident of the subsidized housing building, Cherry Court, had attempted to get into my house. My dogs barking and my threats scared him off. The police were called but could not find him. He came back a second time a few hours later, again trying to get into my home. He left before the police came but he was eventually located and identified. I was told he was mentally ill, not on meds, and was intoxicated. He was told to stay away. He again returned not once, but two more times that same morning. It took my husband to track him down and threaten him for him to stay away. I called public housing and demanded he be moved. I informed them he was a threat to our safety. I have two children in the home and they were scared. I was told he had rights and was not going to be moved. I pay taxes and pay for his existence. What are my rights??? By the way, this isn't the first time we had problems with public housing residents. One had threatened to shoot me years ago and was allowed to continue to live on my block in spite of this.

- On 05/20/16, at approximately 12:30 PM, there was a shooting at the BP gas station on N. 27 St. and W. Lisbon Ave. I was outside and heard 3-4 gunshots that hit the victim.

- On 06/09/16, there were two subjects shot on the 1900 blk. of N. 26 St. This occurred in the afternoon. Both survived.

- On 06/15/16, at 6:45 PM, a subject by the name of London Street was shot to death on the 1900 blk. of N. 26 St. Interestingly enough, he was with the public housing resident when the threats to shoot me were made years before.

- In July of 2016, two neighbors were robbed at approximately 7:30 AM. One elderly gentleman was strong arm robbed on the 1600 block of N. 24 Pl. A female was robbed at gunpoint by the same subjects on the 2400 block of W. Galena St.

- On 08/14/16, at approximately 3:30 PM, several subjects ran through my neighborhood park, Tiefenthaler, and were shooting at each other. Around that same time, a woman was shot in the head near public housing on W. Lisbon Ave. and N. 28 St.

- On Sun., 10/30/16, at 7 AM, I was walking my two dogs - one of which is a German Shepherd - when a car started circling around me. I was only on the other side of my block near the park. I began going back to my home after they went past me the third time. I knew I was their target. When I got to my residence, this car pulled out from behind my garage in the alley. Upon seeing me, they backed up and parked behind my garage and waited until I entered my yard. I didn't go to my house but instead went two doors down. These same subjects came back around the block and found me hiding in this yard. They stopped and I ran through the back. They eventually left. It used to be that my dogs would keep the bad element at bay. Looks li will use alternative methods for protection.

- On 10/12/16, in the early morning hours, my neighbors and I awoke to shots fired. Fifteen casings were found near the park at 1611 N. 25 St.

- On 11/06/16, at approximately 1:30 AM, eleven shots were fired  the alley rear of 2476 W. Galena St., which is on the opposite side of my block. Fortunately, my neighbors were not hit.

- On 11/08/16, I ran into my neighbor, Gail, at our polling place. She resides in a Habitat home on the 1800 blk. of N. 26 St. and had stated in Oct., her house was hit by gunfire meant for a rental unit next door. She told me since her husband had passed, she is too afraid to live here and was thinking about moving. Isn't that a shame that someone who put sweat equity into building a home she should be proud of is too afraid to live there?

- On 12/09/16, at approximately 11 PM, we woke up to seeing a man who was shot in the back, laying on the road in front of my house. An officer was tending to him. My neighbors told me they heard a round of 4-5 shots being fired and then another 2 shots between 9:30 PM - 10 PM that night.

- On Thurs., 01/05/17, at 9 AM, an employee at the BP gas station on N. 27 St. and W. Lisbon Ave. was beaten to death with a bat.

My husband works late at night. I can't sleep because I am worried he may be robbed or carjacked when he comes home. My kids, now in college, have no freedom when they come home for a visit because of the crime. I want them home but know they are safer in Madison. Can you believe they have never walked around the block alone?? My neighbors - many who would love to take walks - are too fearful of leaving their property. One neighbor, who also owns a Habitat home, stated she is too afraid to sit on her new patio out of fear of being shot. Two elderly women in my neighborhood - Flo and Judy - seldom come outside out of fear of being a victim. We are prisoners of our own homes yet the ones who should be in prison have freedom! Let that sink in!!!

We have more homeowners than there were when I first moved in. New homes have been built to the east and north. We have people who took a chance on Milwaukee and are doing their part to make our city better. What are you doing for us? Our property values have plummeted. Isn't this your responsibility to keep that up? Our quality of life has been suffering. Isn't it your responsibility to make that better? You work for US! You have forgotten this!

Leaders, you are KILLING this city. Your ‘sit back and play spectator’ attitude is what is hurting this city. I compare the dysfunction of our local government to that of a spouse of an addict. Continue to blame everything else but where responsibility lies, continue to feed the habit, continue to allow for excuses and nothing will change. You are an enabler. You are ignoring the problem and the family/community suffers. If you confront and make the ‘addict’ deal with consequences and you cut off the supply, the ‘addict’ will have to deal with the outcome and will either sink or swim. Milwaukee is long overdue for a serious intervention

I am demanding a meeting with you, Mayor, and with any common council members interested in explaining to us as to why our community is on the decline and we are not getting the resources we need. 




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