Using a data-driven, public-private partnership, the Near West Side Partners’s featured program, Promoting Assets Reducing Crime (PARC) has helped create double-digit improvements in public safety, including a 12 percent decrease in violent crime and a 32 percent decrease in property crime. This has been achieved through the Community Prosecution Unit’s (CPU) coordination of public safety efforts across MPD, the DA’s Office, anchor security programs and NWSP’s outreach programs. Together they have helped identify and mitigate sources of crime and disorder, such as the 27th Street Tobacco Shop.
Community Prosecution Unit
It should not be overstated the impact of the CPU team and their instrumental role in providing a focused and community-minded approach to solving problems in the community. Jesica Ballenger, the Near West Side community prosecutor works closely with MPD, the NWSP Ambassadors and the Bobby McQuay in identifying the right approach in dealing with aggressive panhandling, loitering and crimes that ultimately take away from the quality of life.
The CPU team uses strategies that address the problem at its core. The team focuses on providing the resources for the mental-ill, the addicted and homeless populations who are served by many nonprofit organizations in the Near West Side. Some of these individuals need additional services and in some cases need to be monitored. The CPU works with many organizations to provide those resources.
Near West Side Safety Working Team
The Near West Side Partners has four (4) working teams that reflect the four (4) focus areas of the mission. Safety, housing, commercial development and branding teams meet each month. The Safety working team has worked on various projects for the past five (5) years to include a small business safety guide, a lighting project and camera initiative. They team comprised of safety professionals are providing support and coordination at unprecedented levels in the Near West Side. Led by Chief Edith Hudson of Marquette University Police Department the team is supportive of learning and sharing best practices and providing platforms to engage the Milwaukee Police Department and the District Attorney.
Landlord compacts are very useful tools for educating property owners on how to better manage their property. The Near West Side Landlord Compact is the longest running compact in the City of Milwaukee and since 1991 have brought together landlords, resources and law enforcement to address the many issues. These monthly meetings identify reoccurring problems with properties in the area and with a team of individuals representing MPD, CPU, Ambassadors, Co-Chairs Kent Cory and Richard Lucas and, Department of Neighborhood Services work together to find solutions with the owner.
The Ambassador program ran part-time for several years and in 2017 the Near West Side Partners decided to make the program a full-time program based off the response of the community. Recently Near West Side Partners working with Garda Security has had the opportunity hire from the community. This have been very important in finding the right candidate with both passion and cultural sensitivity to the local community. Duane and Savanah have proven to be very important in the work of community outreach, community order and resource identification for residents, businesses and those in need. The Near West Side is much safer with the Ambassador program.
Having the support of the Milwaukee Police Department, District Attorney, Near West Side anchor institutions and businesses, property owners and the Ambassadors are key to continuing the positive direction of a safer community in the Near West Side of Milwaukee.