Frankly, until the people in Milwaukee start caring, it’s hard for me to get up the energy. I’ll just avoid going there.
Milwaukee is in the grip of the worst violence in its modern history. There were 189 killings here last year, a 93% increase from 2019 and the most ever recorded.
The jump reflects a nationwide trend. In one study, researchers from the nonprofit Council on Criminal Justice looked at 34 cities and found that 29 had more homicides last year than in 2019. The overall rise was 30%, though in most places killings remained below their peaks in the 1990s.
Among the 19 cities with more than half a million people — including Los Angeles, New York and Chicago — none saw a bigger surge than Milwaukee. With 127 killings through the first half of September, the city is nearly on pace to match last year’s record. Hughes was the 78th person killed this year.
Black officers now make up 18% of the force, which has downsized considerably over the last two decades and become much less diverse. The homicide unit has shrunk to two dozen detectives.
Milwaukee police have solved 58% of the homicides committed last year, down from 68% in 2019. The rate so far this year is 34%.