You Want Less Violence? Build Stronger Communities, Speaker Says

Maybe it’s not fair to reduce to a few points an hour of conversation with Reggie Moore, director of the City of Milwaukee’s Office of Violence Prevention, at an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program at Marquette Law School on Feb. 6. But let’s hope it’s a way to drive home a few of his major points and perhaps to encourage you to watch the video of the program.

Moore’s effort is best known for the document it produced, “The Milwaukee Blueprint for Peace.” It offers goals and strategies aimed at reducing violence in the city, many of them dealing with community development and investment. “Every strategy in the blueprint is evidence based,” Moore said.

Here are eight short take-aways  from  Moore, a Milwaukee native with a long history of working with young people in the community:

His office is in the City Health Department, not in a law enforcement setting. Why? Because violence is a community health issue and many of the ways to abate it involve community health, in the broad sense of the term.

One of the hardest challenges he faces is getting people to believe that violence is preventable. But, he is convinced, it is.

You can’t have an officer on every street corner. Moore spoke positively of the work of the Milwaukee Police Department. But there is much more to fighting crime and violence. The broad solutions  lie in improving relationships and improving the lives of people.

Access to quality schools is a violence prevention strategy. Same with housing, better pay for many jobs,  and other things that are necessary to a stable life and a promising future.

Reducing violence goes hand in hand with reducing trauma in the lives of children and adults.

But speaking of trauma, there is a lot of talk about “adverse childhood experiences” that shape many young people’s lives. That’s important. But there also are “adverse community experiences.”  Entire neighborhoods that are shaped by the traumatic things going on in their midst.

Racism and policies shaped by policies are an important part of understanding the realities of life in Milwaukee now. “We need to have an honest conversation about the history of Milwaukee,” Moore said.

When people ask him how much the plan will cost, his answer is, how much are you willing to invest?

To read more about the Office of Violence Prevention and the blueprint, click here. 

To view the video of the program with Moore, click here.


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