Milwaukee, Wisconsin 2021-10-13 07:00:57 –
Obiora Obi, owner of the Oasis Lounge on West Villard Avenue, said he didn’t always get the response he wanted when he posted about an event hosted on social media.
“People will say:’No way. The lounge is 3120W. Obi at Villager Ave said,” It’s hard to hear about your neighborhood. “
He said he’s been getting a better response lately. He believes it’s because people have noticed changes in the neighborhood: cleaner storefronts, rehabed buildings and new developments, cityscape and engineering changes, and more new businesses.
“Crime is also reduced because people are playing their part,” said Obi, one of the 230 owners who are members of the Village Avenue Business Improvement District or Village Avenue BID.
BID’s latest effort, a partnership between the City of Milwaukee and the Milwaukee Police Department, is called Operation Greenlight. The project brought four high-tech cameras to various intersections nearby. According to Angelique Sharp, director of Villa Door Avenue BID, the camera provides real-time intelligence for investigations that help curb reckless driving and other crimes.
“People will find that they can’t come here and do what they want,” she said. “It’s not just about traffic. It helps stop dumping, wandering, etc. and improve general safety.”
Aldo.Ashanti Hamilton, who Worked for years to help bring operational green lights After learning about a similar program in Detroit, he told Milwaukee that the technology and partnership between residents and police would benefit.
“We are informing people that we have eyes and ears accessible to law enforcement agencies that help prevent crime,” he said. “In addition to the cooperation and business activities of the residents, we are discussing the big picture of public safety.”
Some may be wary of the impact on the camera and its privacy, but he said that special care will be taken to ensure proper use of surveillance.
According to Sharp, the camera can be rotated 360 degrees and zoomed in to cover the entire business district. Another important aspect of the project is that business owners who sign on to participate are expected to do more than call 9-1-1 to report a crime. They must also comply with city ordinances on their buildings, provide adequate lighting, promise to clean trash and snow in the winter, and help prevent wandering, among other obligations. Must be. BIDs help business owners connect to local programs and cover some of the costs of improvement.
“If you care a lot about this neighborhood, these are just what you want to do,” said Manisha Dotson, 3328 W. Billard Avenue Dotson, owner of the Nisha Group. He was one of the first business owners to sign up for Operation Greenlight in Villard, refurbishing the interior of her building.
Five years ago, she moved her business with security guards to provide training, landscaping, and other services to her neighborhood. She said she believed that Billard would return to her once glorious past.
“It used to be like downtown, but it could be great again,” said Dotson. “These cameras know what people are looking at here and will send criminals somewhere.”
Cameras are just one of Billard’s larger public security initiatives called “Vision Zero,” a public security approach adopted to combat reckless driving nationwide, including Madison.
The four plans focus on fairness. Education and outreach; engineering; and enforcement. We also rely heavily on collaboration between residents, business owners, and other stakeholders, including cities and law enforcement agencies. Phase 1 of the plan was put into action during the summer and included several initiatives to address reckless driving, Sharp said.
“Currently, there are changes in the roads, curb extensions, bike lanes, and highly visible pedestrian crossings that people need to get used to,” she said. “We are working to change our behavior and we need to build that infrastructure so that people can ride their bikes safely in Billard.”
BID and other partners have raised even more money using concert series, Village’s Summer Vibes, and other public events. Awareness about reckless driving, Holding art contests for young people, sharing information on car insurance and license recovery, etc.
Phase 2 is Operation Green Light, she said.Those plans match An ongoing effort to use art to revitalize public spaces and attract development and business to the communityIncludes the old Billard Library and Villa Theater sites, both of which are city-owned property. According to Sharp, the library with long shutters at 3310 W. Billard Avenue, which was replaced by the new Billard Square Library in 2011, is a great opportunity for catalyst development.
“My hope and what the residents share is that I want to use this space as an incubator space for hosting multiple small businesses,” she said.
Obi wants more people to continue to give Billard a chance.
“When people find out that the neighborhood is getting better, police are watching, and BID members are involved, this area attracts investors and various customers to check. “He said.