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Why are so many young people leaving violent city?

Empower Wisconsin | Nov. 29,  2019

By M.D. Kittle

MADISON — Last week, Milwaukee Police received an all-too-familiar call. An 18-year-old “man” (kid, really) was stabbed to death in the 1500 block of North 39th St.

As of Wednesday, there have been at least 90 homicides reported in Milwaukee this year. More than 40 percent of these deaths involved people 29 years old and younger, according to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel database.

Milwaukee Ald. Cavalier Johnson wants to know why young people are leaving the city. Hmmm?

His proposal creating a millennial task force was approved this week by the Milwaukee Common Council.

The 16-member committee is tasked with assessing the major reasons Millennials leave the city after college.

Here’s one answer: They don’t want to die.

Milwaukee is a violent city, particularly for young people. It’s the sixth most dangerous city in the United States, according to FBI crime data. Among the dangers, carjackings and reckless driving. Last month, a reckless driver took the life of a 6-year-old girl and injured her 4-year-old sister, according to police.

Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Common Council earlier this month passed a $1.53 billion budget that cut more than two-dozen police officer positions and scores of firefighter jobs. That was considered an easing from Mayor Tom Barrett’s deeper cuts.

City officials, per usual, blamed the state for Milwaukee’s budget woes, even as the council approved several social welfare programs and refused to rein in spending elsewhere. That included a pilot program that would provide guaranteed basic income payments of $500 to 50 low-income families or individuals in certain Zip codes living at the poverty line.

Councilman Johnson recently said on WISN’s Upfront  the millennial committee wants to make sure Milwaukee is “working to keep those young people who are here, and attract other young people from across the country to come here, because they add to our communities.”

Keep them safe, alderman. Do that first and you’ll give them the most important reason to stay and to make Milwaukee home.

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