Assaults on Milwaukee buses have made national news accompanied with violent video footage. However, a county official claims the number of serious incidents on buses has decreased 13% over the past three years. Michael Mayo Sr, Milwaukee County Transportation Committee Chairman, believes installation of surveillance cameras on buses has deterred crime. He also credits citizens "stepping up to plate" in helping law enforcement identify violent actors "caught on tape."
But the natures of the crimes have changed. Supervisor Mayo says the violence used to be among people who knew each other and has now extended to strangers being attacked.
In a recent incident, a passenger punched a bus driver. In another situation a mother and her two teens were allegedly harassing a woman. Before exiting one of her kids hit the lady in the face.
Milwaukee County Sheriff's deputies provided additional security the past two weeks. On Friday, the Guardian Angels began patrolling some bus routes. Mayo admires the Angels' initiative but emphasizes the volunteer group is not backed by the county.
Mayo is considering use of private security guards on the routes as well as safety shields for bus operators, a device backed by Sheriff David Clarke and the drivers' union. The Transportation Committee Chair wants to find funding for the shields "right now" rather than include it in the ongoing county budget process.