MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – Milwaukee is on the verge of another record year of homicides and the majority of these cases remain unsolved.
Nequesia Terrell was 14 and was recently accepted into Milwaukee High School of the Arts. Her mother said life was just beginning for the teenager.
“QuaQua was a very energetic, intelligent, loving, caring and courageous young woman with so much potential,” said Beverly Terrel, mother of Nequesia.
But it all ended on October 4, 2020, when Nequesia was shot and killed. It happened just after 2 a.m. near 11 and Burleigh. The teenager was in the back seat of a car when gunshots broke out and she was caught in the crossfire.
“This last year has been horrible,” Terrell said. “All I have left of my daughter are memories, and she never will.”
The case of Nequesia is one of more than 80 unsolved homicides in 2020. That of Winfred Jackson Jr. is another.
The 18-year-old was killed in Washington Park on March 17, 2020.
“We’re in front of a brick wall,” said Leatrice Martin, Jackson Jr.’s aunt. “We’re at a dead end, after a year and a half we don’t know anything.”
And it’s getting worse and worse. So far in 2021, only 45% of cases are resolved, that’s a seven-year low. Below is an overview of the total number of homicides, the number cleared and the percentage.
- 2015 – 147 homicides, 85 homicides closed (58%)
- 2016 – 142 homicides, 95 homicides closed (67%)
- 2017 – 119 homicides, 93 homicides closed (78%)
- 2018 – 99 homicides, 75 homicides closed (76%)
- 2019 – 97 homicides, 75 homicides closed (77%)
- 2020 – 190 homicides, 104 homicides closed (58%)
Part of the problem is the sheer volume of crime in Milwaukee. Homicides have increased by more than 95% since 2019 and resources are limited.
Mayor Tom Barrett’s proposed budget for 2022 calls for cuts by 25 officers, following cuts of 60 and 120 officers over the past two years. The mayor says it is not by choice but that it is financially necessary due to the costs of pensions and the lack of state support.
“Many video recording systems can only keep the data or that recording for 24 to 72 hours,” said Inspector Paul Formolo of the Milwaukee Police Department. “If we go from scene to scene and we are not able to follow up on the previous case, we risk losing that video evidence. So this is just one example of capacity management. . “
Inspector Paul Formolo says another problem is that the community does not want to work with the police.
“There has been a decrease, I would say, in the level of cooperation in a post-George Floyd era,” Inspector Formolo said. “You know and it’s our job, as executive leadership, to help restore that legitimacy between the police department and the community.”
For the families of the victims, the silence of the community is heartbreaking and frustrating.
“We know people know,” said Nicole Crown, Nequesia’s aunt. “And we know that some people can come forward but they haven’t.”
“In my guts, in my soul, in my heart, I know someone knows something,” Martin added.
One group that is trying to bridge the gap between the community and the police is Milwaukee Crime Stoppers.
“We can help families of unsolved crimes begin to heal,” said Ryan Patte, vice president of Milwaukee Crime Stoppers. “A lot of crime comes from trauma and if we can start the healing process with people, maybe we can prevent future crimes from happening.”
In the two years since the start of the program, Crime Stoppers denunciations have solved 40 crimes, including four homicides.
He is not affiliated with the police and is completely anonymous.
“Anytime a citizen calls Crime Stoppers or uses the p3 reporting line, they are sent to an out-of-state call center and their number is actually scrambled,” Patte said.
Inspector Formolo says the police need the public’s help.
“It has to be a partnership between the community and us to reduce the level of violence that takes place,” Inspector Formolo said. “Especially among our young people in the community.”
There are cash rewards in the cases of Jackson Jr. and Nequesia.
“You have to be responsible,” Terrell said. “When you go to jail, your family can always call you. They can always have birthdays, so, you know, I can never pick up a phone and call my daughter.”
If you know anything about these or other crimes, visit Milwaukee Crime Stoppers here or call 414-224-TIPS. Your call is anonymous.
You will receive a PIN code and you can use this number to check if the matter is resolved and to verify if you are eligible for a reward.