Milwaukee police get it right

Police reach out to pushcart vendors

by Diane Sroka

Fidel Bustos has been selling fruit, chips and other treats from his pushcart on the south side for the past two years.

He knows what tastes good and which route to walk every day. But when he was robbed last year, he didn’t know what to do.

“No, I didn’t report it,” he said in Spanish. He said he figured the police wouldn’t be able to do anything and the amount was too small – $30 to $40.

However, the Milwaukee Police Department hopes to reach out to vendors such as Bustos – who had been robbed once before without reporting it – and encourage them to report armed robberies and assaults of which they are victims.

“We had gotten wind that they were being victimized,” said Sgt. Luis Gonzales. “You have to report this.”

Gonzales and several other members of the Police Department met with the heads of five south side pushcart companies Tuesday to encourage them to report when their employees are victims of crimes.

Some vendors don’t turn to the police because they may be illegal immigrants, Gonzales said, but he hopes that fear will dissolve as their relationship develops.

“We aren’t concerned about their immigration status,” Gonzales said. “We’re concerned about when they are the victim of a crime.”

Tuesday’s meeting was the first of its kind, according to police, and the department already considers the outreach effort successful. Two armed robbery suspects are already in custody as a result of Tuesday’s meeting, police spokeswoman Anne E. Schwartz said.

Antonio Castillo, 71, a vendor who sometimes sits outside the original El Rey grocery store on S. Chavez Drive, said someone tried to rob him near S. 27th St. and W. Oklahoma Ave. last year, but he reported it right away.

That’s the kind of action Gonzales hopes this effort will cultivate.

“This is a good example of building community-police relations, building trust and working together with the department,” he said.

While it’s really sad that these vendors are getting robbed — many walk by my house each day — I was so happy to see this news story. With the number of local and state-level enforcement measures increasing each day, it’s good to see a few places are actually concerned about people, and crime, rather than reacting to all the ridiculous rhetoric about stealing jobs and immigrants weighing down the state budget.

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6 Responses to Milwaukee police get it right

  1. Pamela says:

    It is not at all about IMMIGRANTS, it is about ILLEGAL FOREIGN NATIONALS breaking OUR U.S. LAWS and not being punished. If you are in this country without proper LEGAL DOCUMENTATION (that would be with our permission), you are suppose to be punished with DEPORTATION.

    This is about a large group of CRIMINALS (ILLEGAL ALIENS) being given SPECIAL PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT over American U.S. citizens. If we break the law, we get punished with what is on the books. It is the New DISCRIMINATION against LEGAL IMMIGRANTS and U.S. Citizens.

    Obviously, if we have 12,000,000 to 20,000,000 ILLEGAL FOREIGN NATIONALS in our country, they are not being punished, which is DEPORTATION.

    ILLEGAL ALIENS are not IMMIGRANTS, they are CRIMINALS and if you cater to them, you are aiding and abetting the crime of ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION.
    ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION is a crime against all LEGAL IMMIGRANTS and U.S. citizens. Stop this CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR by our local elected U.S. officials.
    Either vote them out, recall them or impeach them. Then hang their butts
    for treason.

  2. laurafern says:

    Pamela:

    Please pay attention, and get your facts straight:

    “It is not at all about IMMIGRANTS, it is about ILLEGAL FOREIGN NATIONALS breaking OUR U.S. LAWS and not being punished. If you are in this country without proper LEGAL DOCUMENTATION (that would be with our permission), you are suppose to be punished with DEPORTATION.”

    Fair enough, from a strictly legal perspective, that is. What would you say to the hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizen employers that often knowingly hire undocumented immigrants? What would you say to the IRS, a huge, gov’t agency, that allows them to apply for special numbers so that they can file their tax returns each year? What would you say to the Social Security Administration, which collects billions from their paychecks despite knowing full well that they used invented social security numbers? Aren’t those organizations and those employers equally culpable for luring these people into jobs and the American way of life?

    “This is about a large group of CRIMINALS (ILLEGAL ALIENS) being given SPECIAL PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT over American U.S. citizens. If we break the law, we get punished with what is on the books. It is the New DISCRIMINATION against LEGAL IMMIGRANTS and U.S. Citizens.”

    No, being in the U.S. without documentation is not a criminal offense. It is a civil offense. There is a huge difference. Sneaking across a border is a misdemeanor criminal offense, but there are also millions of people that overstayed their valid visas. They are civil offenders, but certainly, in your definition, “illegal immigrants.”

    As far as special treatment, I find that immensely humorous. Please define what you mean as “special preferential treatment over American U.S. citizens”? Why not punish all the employers I just mentioned, so that they would not be scrambling to hire hard-working foreigners, rather than punish the workers that are just meeting the needs of our economy? Also, “American” equally refers to Mexican, Canadians, Costa Ricans and Peruvians — they are all part of what is technically “America” – North and South.

    “Obviously, if we have 12,000,000 to 20,000,000 ILLEGAL FOREIGN NATIONALS in our country, they are not being punished, which is DEPORTATION.”

    “ILLEGAL ALIENS are not IMMIGRANTS, they are CRIMINALS and if you cater to them, you are aiding and abetting the crime of ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION.”

    Guilty, guilty, guilty. Some of the very best human beings I know are not U.S. citizens. Some of them do not live in the U.S., others live in the U.S. illegally. Sure, there are bad apples in any group, but most are just working hard to feed their families and providing an emerging consumer base that feeds the U.S. economy.

    “ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION is a crime against all LEGAL IMMIGRANTS and U.S. citizens. Stop this CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR by our local elected U.S. officials.
    Either vote them out, recall them or impeach them. Then hang their butts
    for treason.”

    Pamela, are you aware that when you write in all caps it makes you sound not only very angry, but also INSANE?

  3. Gabacha Yucateca says:

    But, Laura, don’t you see that she is trying to make a POINT about these MOJADOS?? 🙂

    I’d reply a bit more, but I’m pooped from my day of AIDING and ABETTING these CRIMINALS!

    I know that justice is hard to come by these days, no matter how hard we work, and that people will always be stuck on this illegal thing, but here’s my idea of ultimate justice. Not that I’m even close to being religious, but sometimes I fantasize that in the hereafter, all of these people who so get their panties in a wad over illegal immigration will find themselves trying to make ends meet with a family of four in a little ranchito in Michoacoan. See what they decide to do in that case.

  4. Pamela says:

    Who would have a family of four, if all they had was a ranchito to raise them in? A simple clue to how many children one should have, if you can’t feed yourself, you won’t be able to feed a child. Therefore, anyone with a pea size of a brain, would not have a child they cannot feed. If they cannot feed
    one, they can’t feed three more.

    That is the kind of Third World Thinking that ILLEGALS are bringing here.

    The reason I have to use caps, is because of people who are unable to tell the difference between LEGAL and ILLEGAL. I figure if I write it in capitals, they might be able to comprehend better.

    Yes, the criminal traitor employers who hire them are just as guilty and the politicians that enable their crime. All are guilty of the crime of ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION, including the ILLEGAL. They all should be punished.

    Yes, it is a civil offense to cross over into our country ILLEGALLY. But, it comes with a punishment and that punishment is DEPORTATION.

    They are being given SPECIAL PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT over all American U.S. citizens. They are not being punished for breaking our laws. If we break our laws, we are punished.

    Prostitutes work hard to feed their children, but are thrown into jail. Why? Prostitution is a crime. Same with bank robbers, drug dealers, pot smokers. They are punished.

    The only crime that pays in this country and goes largely unpunished, is the crime of ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION. Proof: we have 12,000,000 to 20,000,000 ILLEGALS not being punished with DEPORTATION.

  5. Adrianne says:

    Whoa, where did Pamela come from?

    I don’t have personal experience with immigration, but I can tell you from my experience working in the MIdwest that there are plenty of white “Americans” having children that they cannot afford to take care of. Apparently the mid-section of our country is filled with pea-sized brains.

    Poor Iowa.

  6. laurafern says:

    I somehow missed Pamela’s second comment. Oops!

    Pamela – what would you do with all the U.S. citizens who have too many children and then go on welfare to pay for them? Are they also traitors and criminals?

    Until very recently, birth control was still considered quite sinful by most Mexicans, the vast majority of who are Catholic. My grandparents had a lot of children, my great-grandparents even more. They didn’t necessarily consider how they would afford them, they just had them. Would you call my ancestors (and perhaps yours) Third World?

    In any case, I don’t know who you are to judge anyone else’s child-bearing habits. Our country has lured people here to work, and if you don’t like it, protest the employers, not the people who are just following the rules of world economics and going where the work is. Also, how many immigrant families do you personally know that have more than two or three children. I don’t know any. And I know A LOT of undocumented immigrant families. I suspect you have never even met one.

    Pamela – I would challenge you, if you feel so strongly about these “traitors,” to cut all the industries out of your life that employ undocumented workers. You will have to stop eating at restaurants, stop eating fruits and vegetables purchased in supermarkets unless you know they are not being picked by undocumented workers in California, probably stop buying meat too, stop staying in hotels and pretty much analyze all the services you use in your comfortable American life. Those are just a few examples.

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