Two GOP state lawmakers and three city of Milwaukee aldermen held a news conference Wednesday at the West Allis Police Department to discuss proposed legislation to strengthen penalties for carjacking and allow judges to impose longer youth prison sentences on juvenile offenders. Part of their defense and rationale for the bills is a concern of urban crime moving out to the suburbs.
“I am hearing our constituents here in West Allis looking over their shoulder on what is happening in Milwaukee, and we’re seeing those issues coming into West Allis,” said state Representative Joe Sanfelippo (R-New Berlin). “That’s why we’re here, because this is the next front.”
Milwaukee alderman Tony Zielinski said “Crime is spreading to the outlying areas where historically it was not a problem. If you don’t take action now, it’s going to be coming to your neighborhood.”
The news conference comes as Franklin Police Chief Rick Oliva announced major crime is down in Franklin.
That doesn’t mean Milwaukee criminals couldn’t head south, or that we should let our guard down.
Nationwide a pattern has been growing demonstrating that fear in the suburbs is not unwarranted. From the Wall Street Journal:
The decline in homicides nationally has overshadowed a countertrend: rising murders in the suburbs, the communities that ring cities and have long been promoted as havens from violent crime. U.S. homicides fell sharply from 2001 to 2010, including a 16.7% drop in big cities, according to a federal Bureau of Justice Statistics study of the most recent, reported data. That is because of a host of factors, including better medical treatment for victims of violent injury and aggressive police measures in megacities like New York and Los Angeles.
But homicides rose 16.9% in suburbs during the same period, according to the BJS. This came during a time when populations in both large cities and suburbs grew substantially.
In Franklin we can be thankful for a great police department. They need our continued support to ensure we maintain our exemplary safety record.