Milwaukee’s 2023 homicide rate was 4th highest in city history, despite plunge

Milwaukee is still a major center of crime

Milwaukee set new records for their highest homicide rate in history three years in a row. In 2023, the city celebrated that homicides were way down. Except the number of homicides was still nearly double that of 2019.

Milwaukee Homicides According to City Police:

1991: 165 (623k, 26.5 per 100k) fifth highest rate
1993: 157 (620k, 25.3 per 100k) sixth highest rate
2015: 145 (601k, 24.1 per 100k) seventh highest rate
2019: 97 (591k, 16.4 per 100k) Lowest since 2014
2020: 190 (576k, 33.0 per 100k) third highest rate in city history
2021: 195 (569k, 34.3 per 100k) second highest rate in city history
2022: 215 (563k, 38.0 per 100k) highest rate in city history
2023: 172 (576k, 29.7 per 100k) fourth highest rate in city history

The Milwaukee Police Department says 2024 homicides are on track to be 20% less than 2023 and 41% less than the 2022. However, this would be still be the eight highest homicide rate ever.

Milwaukee Homicides According to State Department of Justice:

The State of Wisconsin is publishing significantly higher homicide totals. This suggests that the city is using stricter guideline to make their number as low as possible. This is a nationwide trend that has been growing for decades.

2019: 106 (577k, 18.4 per 100k)
2020: 197 (576k, 34.2 per 100k)
2021: 205 (569k, 36.01 per 100k)
2022: 222 (563k, 39.4 per 100k)

A 2023 number has not been published yet.

CDC Assault Homicide Death Rate for Wisconsin’s “Large Metropolitan” Population:

All races:

2018: 13.1
2019: 13.3
2020: 22.6
2021: 23.4
2022: 24.9

Only Blacks:

2018: 37.8
2019: 37.4
2020: 64.6
2021: 76.0
2022: 79.9

The CDC Wonder Database does not produce individual rates for other races, because the total number of deaths is considered too small to be statistically relevant by their standards. 

Wisconsin Homicides:

1991: 239 (4,955k, 4.8 per 100k) fourth highest rate in state history
2019: 185 (5,825k, 3.2 per 100k)
2020: 308 (5,833k, 5.3 per 100k) third highest rate in state history
2021: 329 (5,896k, 5.6 per 100k) highest rate in state history
2022: 317 (5,892k, 5.4 per 100k) second highest rate in state history

Based on data sent to the FBI by the Milwaukee police department:

2019: 84.3% of known suspects were Black
2020: 78.1% of known suspects were Black
2021: 92.1% of known suspects were Black
2022: 85.6% of known suspects were Black

2019: 79.4% of victims were Black
2020: 77.5% of victims were Black
2021: 90.3% of victims were Black
2022: 86.9% of victims were Black

Milwaukee’s percentage of state-wide homicides:

2019: 52.4%
2020: 61.7%
2021: 59.3%
2022: 67.5%

Black Milwaukee resident’s share of state homicides, based on known suspect percentage:

2019: 44.2%
2020: 48.2%
2021: 54.6%
2022: 57.8%

Black homicides in Milwaukee are the main factor driving the state-wide surge in homicides.

Milwaukee is about 39% Black or roughly 222k people. This population group represents less than 3.8% of the state’s population. Yet this group appears to have committed over half of all the murders in the entire state in 2021 and 2022.

To further verify this, we can look at the 2021 CDC assault homicide death rates.

For 246k Blacks living in Milwaukee County, the assault homicide death rate is a staggering 76.0 per 100k. For 456k Whites in the same area, the assault homicide death rate is 3.3 per 100k. This is a Black to white ratio of 23!

The CDC lists 348 people as dying from assault homicide in Wisconsin in 2021. Usually CDC assault homicide deaths are higher than official state totals for murder/nonnegligent homicide.

Of the 348 statewide deaths, 229 or 65.8% are Black. For the Milwaukee metro area, there are 189, or 54.3% of the state. This suggests that Blacks living in Milwaukee county committed over half the murders in the entire state.

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