EMCC's January Homeownership Seminar

EMCC, in collaboration with UWM’s Office of Community Relations and Communications, held a seminar for those interested in living in our area. We had guest speakers covering topics such as the benefits of owning and living in a duplex, the amenities of living near UWM, the current market and mortgage environment, and the high quality of our local schools. We also heard about the cooperative efforts of MPD, UWM Police, and the Dean of Students’ office in handling student disruptiveness.

Those attending gave us high marks in evaluations, and even presenters said they had come away with useful knowledge.

This seminar was part of our ongoing effort to stabilize our neighborhood. We believe that having more owner occupants in the duplexes around campus will be healthy for the area.

A brown bag for East Side Realtors is planned, as well as another seminar in the spring for potential homebuyers. Details to be announced.

How to deal with party noise or other disruptive issues.
We are beginning another party season in the UWM  area and we once again find our nights interrupted by the parties that coincide with a new term at UWM.
Ways to combat the problem require individual effort, but with coordinated action we can reduce the number of sleepless nights.  EMCC asks that you do the following when you are personally affected by party noise or other disruptions.

1) Make sure you have correctly identified the address or location involved.
This often means getting up and walking about, but it is important that the property or site involved be accurately identified.

2) Call the police department and register a complaint. When calling at night use the Report It/Record It number: 414-935-7211. Tell them exactly where the problem is. You may remain anonymous if you choose, but it is more effective if you identify yourself, provide your phone number and address, and
use the "magic words:"  "I want a citation issued".  Often the police arrive too late to witness the problem themselves. If you are willing to be a complaining witness they will issue citations anyway. You may
even make your complaint a day or two after the event. For example, calls can be made to the police station on Monday for a violation on Saturday.

3) Make some notes and save them.
Write down the date and time you made the complaint,and the name of the officer with whom you spoke. Note whether you had gone outside to identify the property, how long the noise problem had been going on, and any other pertinent facts.
If citations are issued and you have agreed to be a complaining witness, there is a chance that the recipient of the citation will contest it. Your notes will make all the difference since these hearings occur months after the actual event.  The more specific your notes are, the more valuable they will be. For example: "a blond, tall skinny young man was giving out cups after receiving something in his left hand (selling cups)" or "five guys on the porch yelling back and forth to those on the street".

Those of us who have gone through this process have been pleased with the outcome.

4) Call, or better yet, send an email about the problem. An email is best because it delivers the message to all concerned and also creates a record of the notes discussed above. Make sure to copy all
of the following people:

Officer Jose Alba, Milwaukee Police Community Liaison Officer: jalba@milwaukee.gov
Heather Harbach, UWM Neighborhood Relations Liaison:  229-4451 Adrianne Stone

Alderman Nik Kovac: nkovac@milwaukee.gov, 286-2221
Also, send a copy to EMCC: phfmke1@gmail.com If you copy us, that will assist data collection for
Our Safety and Stability Team.

5) Contact the property owner.
You can find out who the landlord is by looking up property information on the City's web site at http://www.city.milwaukee.gov/ or milwaukee.gov/dns. There is a "Get Property Information" button
on the left side of the home page.
You may also use the City's "Map Milwaukee" site to find property information: <http://www.city.milwaukee.gov/display/router.asp?docid=3480>. 
We may never see a school year start without some of these parties, but if we all respond quickly and forcefully we should see an improvement in all of our nighttime lives.



Thanks to Carole Fait of Historic Water Tower Neighborhood, who sent this summary of the HWTN meeting February 3 which featured District Attorney John Chisholm. Carole wants to thank Laura Shipley for this information. 

Keynote Speaker Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm
DA John Chisholm spoke to a large audience at the HWTN (Historic Water Tower Neighborhood) meeting about his office’s strategies, short-term and long-term, to reduce violent crime in our neighborhood and throughout Milwaukee.  As he sees it, there are three major areas of concern: rising rate of homicides; crimes involving vehicles (carjackings); and opiate overdose deaths which totaled 250 in Milwaukee county this year. As for the high homicide rate, unlike in the 1990’s when the homicide rate spiked due to crack cocaine, it is less clear what is behind our current homicide rate increase as “one factor alone” does not account for it. The MPD, Sheriff’s Department, Department of Corrections, US Attorney's Office are all working together on violence reduction initiatives and DA Chisholm sees a role for neighborhood associations in that coalition. As he sees it, “cohesive neighborhood collaboration equals reductions in crime.”
He explained that their are 20-22 detectives focused solely on violent crime. There was reference made to the “10 Percenters” throughout his presentation. According to DA Chisholm, “less than 10%, a small number of people, are creating a disproportionate amount of harm.”  Presumably, the 10 percent is referring to the percent of the criminals who commit most of the violent crime as opposed to relatively minor crimes. This is still creating a lot of gun cases for the courts. The Milwaukee gun court is highly congested and an additional gun court is in the works. Along those lines, two new assistant prosecutors have been added to handle the nonfatal shooting prosecutions.  Given limited resources, focusing on the 10 Percenters is a strategy aimed at allocating limited resources in a more efficient manner: at the offenders who are causing the most harm.  There are several programs in place to identify the most dangerous people in the community. More agencies are now sharing information to accomplish this.  DA Chisholm is even approaching the crisis from an epidemiological standpoint using Precision Epidemiology to identify areas where individuals are scoring high on trauma scales created by the CDC from data collected by the public schools, health system, and police departments. This data is then “geocoded” and when it is all linked it can “raise red flags in very specific geographic areas.” Then, according to the DA, “you focus all of your resources on those areas.” DA Chisholm mentioned that the number of teens with adverse childhood experiences in the red flag areas is “enormous.”
Several distinctions were made between drug related crime of the past and the current dynamics of violent drug crime in US cities. In the past, there were cohesive drug gangs that operated out of stationary drug houses without the aid of technologies such as social media. Today, “drug dealing has become a mobile market, which is harder to deal with from a law enforcement perspective.” The drug houses are now mobile and the dealers and carjackers are becoming quite savvy in their use of social media to coordinate criminal enterprises. This is all being fueled by the heroin epidemic.  Further complicating matters is the fact that there are no centrally organized “gangs to take down” as the criminal structure has become frustratingly amorphous given the use of social media to incorporate far flung criminal operators. The MPD and other agencies are now actively monitoring social media to get the evidence needed to apprehend the offenders and prosecute these crimes.
DA Chisholm also spoke to HWTN about residents’ interest in hiring private security patrols.  His thoughts on this question were initially noncommittal. However, when pressed by a resident to take a position, DA Chisholm confided that he believes the “people best situated to deal with rising crime are the trained officers of the MPD.” He said: “the most professional security you’re going to get is from the MPD.” He further advised that it may be most beneficial at this time to “look more toward environmental design and safety assessment instead.” By this, he was referring to having a safety assessment of the properties in our neighborhood to ensure that there is proper lighting and effective security cameras and the like. (HWTN has asked Officer Jose Alba to be the keynote speaker at next month’s meeting to address ways we can evaluate the effectiveness of residents’ current home security measures). In summary, DA Chisholm stated that he did not sense that a “roving patrol would be very effective.” While discussing this topic, DA Chisholm warned about the perception of crime versus the reality of crime. By this, it seemed he was indirectly drawing attention to the fact that our neighborhood crime rate is relatively low and has decreased since having the task force in place. With the use of social media apps such a Nextdoor we are becoming more aware of crimes in the neighborhood and this can create an impression of higher levels of crime that are not supported by reality.
The role of the DA’s Community Prosecutor was raised at the meeting. Five out of seven of the police districts in Milwaukee have Community Prosecutors. These positions are funded by federal grant money, which fluctuates each funding cycle. Evidently, District One used to have a CP but we lost this position due to a reduction in grant money and the need to “triage” in favor of other districts with greater law enforcement needs. The CP unit “focuses on problem persons and problem places” in a neighborhood and their job is to work with the MPD to create “longterm stability” in the neighborhood. We have had success in our neighborhood with the CP unit in the past and it appears from comments from DA Chisholm and CP Ben Wesson that they are open to providing us with assistance on an ad hoc basis.
There was discussion about the treatment of juvenile offenders versus adult offenders.  DA Chisholm explained that the treatment of juvenile offenders is largely guided by legislation and the prosecutor has little discretion except when the crime is a violent offense. First time juvenile offenders will not go to prison but will be placed, according to law, in community based intervention. Violent juvenile offenders can be waived into the adult system but more likely than not will be removed from the community and placed in detention centers such as the controversial Lincoln Hills facility. DA Chisholm assured the group that juvenile crime is not taken lightly and that they do not “deal away” gun cases when they believe they can prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.  Prosecutor Jake Coor updated us on the east side carjacking case that occurred on Prospect Avenue approximately two weeks ago that he is currently prosecuting. He will provide updates and get us Community Impact Statement forms.  Mr. Coor agrees with DA Chisholm that the Community Impact Statements can be persuasive at sentencing.
 In all, the meeting was very informative and productive in that we gained a greater sense of  prosecutorial strategies and constraints.

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