2016 Rewind: Another deadly year for Milwaukee

Louis Weisberg, Staff writer

Sylville K. Smith’s shooting helped to deepen tensions between Milwaukee residents and law enforcement at a time when homicides in the city were breaking records. August was the deadliest month the city has seen in 25 years. Milwaukee even beat Chicago for homicides this summer — and Chicago was also experiencing one of its worst periods. There were four homicides per 100,000 people here over the summer, compared with 3.3 per 100,000 in Chicago.

The 2016 homicides follow unprecedented levels in 2015. The financial news site 24/7 Wall St. reported that in 2015 Milwaukee was the nation’s 10th deadliest city and the second deadliest in the region, behind Detroit. Last year, Milwaukee experienced more murders per capita than Chicago and 84 percent of the victims were black.

The 145 homicides in 2015 represented a 70.6 percent spike from just three years ago — one of the nation’s sharpest increases. And this year is en route to exceed that horrible record. As of Dec. 10, there had already been 139 homicides in the city.

Local officials blame the high concentration of guns in the city. Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn said this summer that 80 percent of the city’s homicides were the result of gun violence.

More Rewind of 2016 stories:

2016 Rewind: Divisive Milwaukee politics

2016 Rewind: Riots explode in Sherman Park

2016 Rewind: U.S. court overturns Wisconsin legislative maps

2016 Rewind: Another challenging environmental year for Wisconsin

2016 Rewind: Another year, another WEDC scandal

2016 Rewind: The stand at Standing Rock

2016 Rewind: More black lives lost

2016 Rewind: Tragedy at Pulse, but love overcomes hate

2016 Rewind: North Carolina’s ‘bathroom bill’

2016 Rewind: Record number of insured Americans under Obamacare

2016 Rewind: Dreams deferred, deportations threatened

2016 Rewind: High court win for abortion rights in high stakes year