"But Flynn also tried to put Milwaukee's crime problem in perspective on a national basis. Using U.S. Census data and crime reports, Flynn compared Milwaukee's homicide and poverty rate with nine other cities: Detroit; Baltimore; Baton Rouge, La.; Newark, N.J.; Cleveland; Memphis, Tenn.; Philadelphia; Atlanta; and Cincinnati. All have similar poverty rates, though they differ in population. Of that group, Flynn said, Milwaukee has the fourth-highest rate of poverty…yet had the lowest homicide rate among the 10 cities."
I have worked with surviving family members of homicide victims and I do not believe that they would find any comfort in their grief, their pain and loss of a loved one as Chief Flynn tries to convince them that it could be worse. In fact it is worse when the homicide rates are presented legitimately.
First of all, crime is anti-social behavior which puts it under the study of sociology.
Poverty, on the other hand, is an economic condition. If you make one hundred dollars over the nationally determined poverty level for a family of four, you may be above the poverty level but you are not less likely to be murdered in Milwaukee. There is no correlation between homicide and poverty. It is in fact an insult to the economically poor.
The overwhelming majority of people living below the poverty line in Milwaukee do not kill their fellow human beings. Poverty may be a risk factor for crime, but it does not mean that it leads people to kill other people.
This is the same classic crime suppression tactic that Chief Flynn was caught doing by Journal Sentinel writer Ben Poston in a series of news stories in 2012.
The Milwaukee Police Department was caught manipulating crime statistics in what I have labeled as hocus-pocus policing. Chief Flynn cherry picks a piece of data and uses it as a shiny object to deflect people’s attention away from the truth. He is at it again.
The truth is that Milwaukee’s homicide rate per 100,000 people is fourth highest in the nation. That is not my opinion. The FBI crime data comparison of cities by population proves it. I will attach the supporting evidence. Flynn’s category of comparing homicide rates with poverty as a barometer is made up. Someone at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel should have had the wherewithal to ask him who even uses that comparison to assess homicide rates.
In fact, Flynn’s claim is a slap at Mayor Tom Barrett who has presided over deepening poverty in Milwaukee for nearly a decade with no plan or idea on how to reverse it or even stabilize it. Not too long ago, the city of Milwaukee was the sixth poorest city of its size in America. Now Milwaukee has the fourth highest poverty rate. What Flynn basically said was that if Mayor Barrett had a plan to reduce poverty, the homicide rate could be lowered.
The surprise wasn’t the homicide rate in the City of Milwaukee. That has distressed all of us since 1990, when the rate for Murder and Non-negligent Manslaughter first crossed the threshold of 20 incidents for every 100,000 citizens of our city. For the purposes of comparison, over the last 20 years that rate in Milwaukee has had a low of 10.9 (1985) and a high of 25.6 (1991); the national average for a city between 500,000 and a million residents being 10.7. Over the last 3 years, Milwaukee has seen 94, 85 and 92 homicides respectively…a rate hovering in the mid-teens.
What surprised me is that Chief Flynn saw fit to gerrymander a new category to slide Milwaukee into: "Cities with Heavy Poverty." Maybe he didn’t like the numbers he saw for his first choices: Cities with Smallest Average Yard Sizes or Cities with Lowest February Temperatures. The fact is, the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) system of the Federal Bureau of Investigation has a category for cities to use in determining rank for homicide rates; a simple category that everyone can understand: Agency serving cities with a population between 500,000 thru 999,999. To make sure that apples are compared to apples, the homicide rates are per 100,000 people. That makes the different total populations of each cities in that range irrelevant.
And in those numbers, (from 2010, the last year available) our Murder and Non-negligent Manslaughter rates (which the FBI defines as "the willful killing of one human being by another") are the third worst in our division of 24: only Detroit, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. are worse.
And, frankly, with Detroit, Baltimore and Washington such outliers in these categories (with rates of 43.4 and 35.9 homicides per 100,000 residents as compared to our 4th place worst rate of 16.0) those cities are really, as all of us know, in categories by themselves. If you exclude those three cities as outliers then Milwaukee actually has the worst homicide rate in America with cities having a population between 500,000 and 999,999.
These murder rates (murders per 100,000 population) range from a high rate of 25.6 (1991) to a low of 10.9 (1985). The last 10 years (2000-2010) saw big swings. The 2011 rate average for a city in the 500K-1 million population is 10.7!
FBI hasn't posted a 2011 rate; But Homicide Review Commission pegged it at 14.5. As for raw #s: 2011 85 2010 94 2009 72 2008 71 2007 105 2006 103 2005 121 2004 87 2003 109 2002 111 2001 127 2000 122 Comparisons?
Here are the real ones for Agency serving cities from 500,000 thru 999,999 (from 2010, the last year FBI has analyzed): In Homicides and Homicide rates we're 3rd worst, after only Detroit and Baltimore...Crime in 2010,click here.