Geography & Public Safety Volume: 3 Issue: 2 Dated: August 2012 Pages: 11-15
The Milwaukee Homicide Review Commission (MHRC) is an action-oriented research program intended to reduce the number of homicides and other violent crimes by using a blend of public health and criminal justice philosophies and strategies.
A distinguishing characteristic of MHRC's public health perspective is its proactive prevention focus. Public health practitioners act to prevent disease and upgrade the health of entire communities. Public health is particularly concerned with the social and behavioral factors related to health. This requires strategies that develop community-based support systems, which includes involving community residents as part of the planning and problem solving process. MHRC has learned from the field of public health that a variety of data sources are required to identify and address a problem, as well as to assess the results of a program or intervention. How MHRC does this is illustrated with an example from a particular community nonprofit organization's evaluation of its work. Safe & Sound is a nonprofit organization in Milwaukee whose mission is to reduce violent crime by blending neighborhood organizing, youth development, and law enforcement strategies. Over the years, Safe & Sound organizers have helped establish, sustain, and staff approximately 160 volunteer block watch clubs. These clubs respond to neighborhood issues, including standard crime problems and community capacity-building, such as after-school activities and mentoring for youth. In the spring of 2011, Safe & Sound sought to develop a profile of each block club that would address a variety of key evaluation questions. MHRC assisted Safe & Sound in developing an annual community perception survey that would solicit answers to the key evaluation questions that pertained to potential service gaps and each club's impact on local crime rates. 3 notes and 4 figures
Date Published: August 1, 2012