“Let’s end the conversation and face a public safety problem that’s become pandemic.”
The number of traffic fatalities in Milwaukee is rising. In a 20 year period beginning in 1996 they’ve doubled. In that same period of time, according to a Milwaukee Police report, calls for service regarding reckless driving increased by nearly 300%, from 4,000 to 11,600.
Reckless driving in Milwaukee has taken on pandemic proportions, and as reports of reckless driving rise, traffic deaths keep pace. It’s gotten so bad in some part of Milwaukee people have begun rationing the time they spend driving on city streets; avoiding nighttime traffic and Friday nights in particular. When they do drive, many have adopted the dangerous habit of slowing to a crawl as they cautiously move through a green light. The reason? Chiefly its because some drivers believe red lights mean nothing. The “no cop, no stop” mentality has reared its ugly head again as more and more, especially younger drivers, choose to own the intersections in Milwaukee. Added to that the alarming rate of car theft and joyriding, the problem is exacerbated. One of my opponents in the mayoral race made this comment recently in response to the rising rate of crime and violence in Milwaukee: “I truly believe that we can overcome the challenges of crime, violence, and disorder in our community if we stand up and find the courage and the will to do it.”
Solutions to difficult problems do require courage and necessarily a strong will. Nevertheless, I believe it’s time to end the talking points about the will to do anything. Leaders do; that’s why they are leaders. Milwaukee’s public safety problems are apparent and have been for a long time. As a former member of Milwaukee’s Public Safety and Health Committee I know this personally. I am convinced that the biggest problem facing Milwaukee in regard to this current pandemic of recklessness and willful law breaking is one of leadership and not planning. Milwaukee needs a mayor who can do more than talk about what we need to do. Milwaukee needs a mayor who will listen to the citizens of this city and, subsequently, lead the Public Safety and Health Committee to own the problem and bring solutions to the citizens of Milwaukee. Milwaukee’s citizens should be able to drive regardless of the day or the hour. That’s not just a good idea; that’s a right.