Franklin freaks over news of crime

More awareness about more crime in Franklin has divided residents into two factions.

I’ll get into that but first some brief background.

Franklin has always had crime, but nothing consistently major or violent.

As of late adding to the list that’s usually had garage break-ins is an alarming increase in automobile thefts. No one wants to see such victims, but how do you leave your car on the drive way with doors open, key in the ignition, and wallet filled with personal info on the front seat, and then cry foul and beg for sympathy?

In the fight against crime you don’t spot the bad guys points.

What has folks really jumping is news of shots fired early Sunday morning on the far south end of S.27th Street.

There could be consensus among the citizenry wondering what in tarnation is going on?

But there seem to be two separate camps.

1) This is the OMG group. They are outraged and are suggesting residents take every single precaution because crime in no longer an urban dilemma, it has swept into the suburbs and isn’t going away.

Of course if you take this position you’re not simply trying to be precautionary and lending a good-intentioned warning to your neighbors. You are:

A) Too negative.

B) Engaging in hyperbole.

C) Inexcusably trying to scare people.

D) Too frightened so you need to pack up and move if it’s too dangerous here.

Not exactly the most respectful response to folks who truly mean no harm. That brings us to group number…

2) This is the group you see on T-shirts. Keep Calm.

It’s not the end of the world. We’re not going to Hell in a hand basket. Crime is a given, as well as an increase given the rise in population over the years. And crime isn’t all that bad here. We are not the central city of Milwaukee.

Finally, how dare you even think of criticizing Franklin? Just move, will ‘ya!

Throughout my media life on any given issue I’ve gotten to a black or white reaction 99.9% of the time. On this item, it’s my view that both sides are correct, to a degree.

Some points are undeniable.

There is more crime in Franklin. And crime is definitely moving from the city to the suburbs. Some legislators have attempted to bring that to the public’s attention with the usual suspects making the usual racial accusations.

Back in April three Milwaukee aldermen announced their support for a package of bills being pushed by suburban Republican lawmakers aimed at toughening penalties for violent offenders.

“The crime is spreading out of Milwaukee. It is like a cancer and, unless steps are taken, that cancer will continue,” said Milwaukee alderman Tom Donovan.

Franklin has a well-deserved reputation of being quiet, clean, and safe. News, and there’s certainly more of it, of crime on the rise uncharacteristically in Franklin has some folks worried and upset. And that’s okay. They shouldn’t be vilified online or dismissed as negative critics.

However, to totally equate the city of Milwaukee with Milwaukee County (i.e. Franklin) is utter nonsense.

No one in Franklin is getting held up in banks or grocery stores or in their parking lots. Automobiles are not being carjacked.

I moved into Franklin in 1992. That’s 25 years ago. If there’s been a homicide during that time, forgive me, I don’t recall.

People feel so secure that yes, they do let their guard down and leave cars out and garage doors wide open. The mere suggestion that Franklin has a crime problem is met with, well, ridicule.

Somehow there needs to be some balance.

Franklin is not unlike other communities its size. This is no Camelot. Criminals are lurking. It’s serious. People who had no reason to be scared, but who now find themselves uneasy, are not to be scoffed at.

Crime might be everywhere (you’re not guaranteed safety anywhere), but you can’t live in your life in a bubble, in terror, fearing a crook behind every corner, or in Franklin’s case, in every courtyard.

Let’s not lose our minds when a car drives slowly down our street. Let’s not sit with binoculars trained outside our windows to record their license plates and then dash to our computers to report them on chat sites.

But let’s not bury our heads in the sand. Crime reports suddenly surfacing in Franklin? No big deal, right? Wrong.

Be vigilant? Yes. But don’t hide under the mattress expecting the worst either.

3 thoughts on “Franklin freaks over news of crime

  1. Thoughtful comments Kevin. I don’t make a point of reading the weekly crime reports since they usually involve the seedy motels on 27th street (how much of guy being robbed by recently-met female acquaintance while in the shower can one read?), so I’m not sure how much of the latest activity is an increase or not. I am on that Franklin neighborhood watch FB page, and what concerns me is the intensity of the frustration that is being expressed. Leaving keys and wallets/purses in a car is nothing short of stupid, regardless of where you live. Other activities being reported do seem more out of the “norm,” and does the perception of the City’s lack of response create the image that Franklin is a soft target? Don’t know, but would rather this not happen. I’m also seeing comments where people are considering the use of force. I’m worried this may lead to a very bad situation.

    In all, I do think City leadership (mayor, police, etc.) need to take some more action. I believe Greendale and Hales Corners have and (given their growth compared to us) they certainly aren’t any less busy.


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