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Milwaukee's Police Chief says city is safe, comparatively speaking

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MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - Milwaukee has long had one of the nation’s highest poverty rates – but Police Chief Ed Flynn says the city has the lowest murder rate among 10 big cities with similar poverty.

Milwaukee had 92 homicides last year, almost 6 percent more than the previous year. Total violent crime jumped by almost 9.5 percent.

Flynn told the city’s Public Safety Committee that there’s too much violence in Milwaukee – but compared to cities with similar challenges, he says it’s, “a better place than one might expect.”

Flynn says the most violent crime is limited to just a few neighborhoods where poverty, unemployment, and abandoned homes are at their highest.

Flynn included Philadelphia and Detroit in his comparison of murder rates, along with Cleveland, Cincinnati, Atlanta, and Memphis, among others. He said they all have the same plight, with about 3 of every 10 residents living below the poverty line.

Flynn has urged Congress to ban assault weapons and require standard background checks for gun buyers. He’s also been urging state legislators for some time to make it a felony to buy guns for criminals, and for repeat offenders to carry concealed weapons.

Those measures and others have not gone anywhere in the Republican-controlled Legislature in the last two sessions. 

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