MILWAUKEE — More homicides were recorded in Milwaukee in August than in any other month over the past 25 years, police said Thursday.
Milwaukee’s total of 24 homicides last month was the highest since July 1991, when the victims of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer were discovered, according to police. The department said the city’s per capita rate was even higher than that of Chicago, which recorded 90 homicides in August.
Chief Edward Flynn discussed the violence at a Thursday afternoon news conference, saying police have recorded a slight increase in domestic violence homicides this year, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported (http://bit.ly/2c58bt3 ).
“But the biggest driver of our homicides is arguments and fights and retaliation among people with criminal records,” Flynn said.
A statement from the department said it is being stressed by recent unrest in the Sherman Park neighborhood, where a black man died after being shot by a police officer last month.
The department has had to devote significant resources to securing the neighborhood, which has “obviously had an impact on our ability to be proactive,” the chief said.
The fatal shooting of Sylville Smith on Aug. 13 sparked two nights of violence, including gunfire and fires that destroyed businesses. Police have said Smith was holding a gun when he turned toward the officer who shot him.
The department’s statement also cited the use of two-officer squads as a strain on its resources. Milwaukee police have patrolled in two-person teams since July, after an officer was shot and wounded by a suspect, according to the newspaper.