This City Is Bucking The Trend And Reducing Violent Crime

We’re going to have more on the incredible increase in violent crime across the nation coming up on today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co, but it’s worth noting that the increase itself isn’t being seen in every U.S. city. A few locales have actually seen their crime rates drop over the course of 2020, while other cities have put new strategies in place that seem to be curbing the rise in violence.

In Green Bay, Wisconsin, for example, there’ve been more than 60 shooting calls so far this year, which is an all-time record according to local police. The number of shooting calls has been dramatically lower over the past few months, however, and the city says much of the success can be credited to the formation of a new Violent Crime Suppression Unit within the Green Bay PD.

“Our main goal has just been to identify the players involved in these shootings,” said Officer Kyle Harnish.

Harnish, who is one officer on the five-person unit, recently drove us through the city to neighborhoods where, in two short months, the group has already left its mark.

“We put a very good dent into what’s been going on here,” said Harnish, as we drove to one area of the city’s west side.

A nuisance abatement truck now sits there, near Ricky and Vine Streets, where the sound of gunfire had been growing common.

Reestablishing peace there and elsewhere in the city required patience and persistence.

“A real big part of this is intelligence gathering, surveillance, building cases on people, finding out where they’re going, where they’re coming from,” explained Harnish.

Harnish says that as officers began to develop intelligence, they quickly realized that gangs weren’t the driving factor in the increased violence.

“There’s a lot of family ties, whether it be close relatives or distant,” explained Harnish as we drove. “There’s a lot of… this person shares a child with this person who’s feuding with the other person who’s currently dating that third person.”

He described it as a ‘convoluted, intertwined web’ of people who’ve lived in the area a long time but just don’t like each other.

“I equivocate it to high school drama and people don’t like what other people are saying about them,” said Harnish. “It’s just high school immaturity from adults, and people are getting shot over it.”

Since the formation of the Violent Crime Suppression Unit in October, the city has seen just five reports of shootings. Some of that can likely be attributed to the seasonal drop in crime that typically arrives with colder weather, but Harnish is convinced that the new policing tactic is having an impact.

“The word is out there that this unit formed and is being very successful,” said Harnish.

“It’s about building relationships in the community, and it’s been huge,” says Green Bay Police Capt. Ben Allen, who’s leading the unit. “Building that trust, and I think the big piece is giving those neighborhoods back to the people that live in them, so they’re a bit more willing to talk about the small things that are happening now so we don’t lead up to that big rash of shootings or violent crime that we saw.”

Green Bay didn’t try to pass any new local gun control laws in order to “do something” about the violence. Instead, they actually did something that works; focusing on the neighborhoods plagued by crime and targeting the most violent and prolific offenders who live there. Not only is that a much more effective way of making the city a safer place, it’s actually constitutional as well.

Jul 29, 2021 12:30 PM ET