Browsing: Crime and Justice

Wisconsin’s criminal justice system must first and foremost work to reduce crime, improve public safety and achieve justice for victims.

The Badger State remains, on the whole, a safe place that’s been getting safer. But Wisconsinites who live and work in Milwaukee have seen dramatic increases in homicide, auto theft and aggravated assault. For some specific offenses, other Wisconsin cities are also seeing worsening trends.

Milwaukee is among the cities that have repeatedly cut law enforcement positions in recent years.

Not only has the city reduced the number of authorized police positions, it has fewer officers to fill them, leading to higher vacancy rates. This inability to fill what remaining positions the city is funding includes leadership ranks: The Milwaukee Police Department is facing a damaging loss of institutional knowledge and practical skills, a loss that could worsen policing just when Milwaukee needs its force to perform at its peak.

Wisconsin’s crime trends in essence reveal two different states: the city of Milwaukee (and other select urban areas) and the “Rest of Wisconsin.” While most of the state is relatively safe in comparison to five years ago, troubling trends in Milwaukee — one of the primary economic engines of the Badger State and home to 10% of its citizens — are undermining the health and safety of the state in general.

For the people who need it most — poor residents of Milwaukee, families and victims of particularly violent crimes like homicide and aggravated assault throughout the state, children in schools where politicians won’t allow police, and almost anyone awaiting a verdict — Wisconsin’s criminal justice system is failing.

Wisconsin, like most states, allows individuals who have been convicted of a one-time, low-level offense to ask a judge to have the record of that conviction expunged once they’ve served their sentence and demonstrated they pose no risk to public safety