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On December 7th Notre Dame School of Milwaukee held a special parents meeting to address the topic of school and neighborhood safety. Aldermen Bob Donovan and Jose Perez, Community Liaison Officers Jose Acevedo and Eliel Contreras, and Asst. District Attorney Ann Lopez all attended and addressed the parents questions and concerns.

The issues are large and complicated. Challenges faced in urban neighborhoods across the country are also experienced here in Milwaukee: poverty and drug use result in an increase in crime, prostitution and car theft while limited resources (money) have resulted in fewer police on the street. Alderman Donovan described ongoing programs aimed at rooting out problem landlords and streamlining prosecution of repeat-offenders and announced the approval of additional police on foot patrols in the Clarke Street neighborhood starting next spring. Asst. DA Lopez shared how she and her team are working to reduce repeat offenses by working with the police and social workers.

Some of the key take-aways and recommended actions were:
“If you see something, say something”. Both the Aldermen and Community Liaison Officers encouraged everyone to call the police whenever they see something suspicious.
We now have a City of Milwaukee attorney working exclusively on the prostitution problem and is doing so by going after the landlords who rent to them and also to drug dealers. If you suspect that a house in your neighborhood is a drug house or is housing prostitutes, please call or email the aldermen and they will share it with the police and the attorney.
The Common Council has published a Public Safety Action Plan
At the end of the meeting, Alderman Donovan challenged our Notre Dame community to commit to “making our school – and our neighborhood – the safest in Milwaukee”.

In the meantime, Notre Dame is taking proactive steps to improve the safety and security of our overall campus in measured, practical ways, including:
Reviewing our policies and procedures for external threats and intrusions
Upgrading and standardizing our security camera capability and functionality across campuses
Updating lighting and signage per best practice recommendations
Discussing best practices and safety suggestions with our assigned Community Liaison Officers (Acevedo and Contreras)

The challenges are too big and the problems are too complex for any one school, police officer, district attorney or aldermen to tackle alone. That is why we all need to work together to make our school, our neighborhood and our community as safe as it possibly can be.