Monday, September 10, 2007 - 4:03am
District 20 Alder Thuy Pham-Remmele is looking forward to the responses of Madison Police Chief Noble Wray and West Side Station Staff. MPD's Response Session will be held Thursday, September 13, 2007 in the St Maria Goretti School Gym at 5405 Flad Avenue, just off Gilbert Road. The Gym has an excellent PA system and capacity of 1,000.
"It is obvious from the August 8th Listening Session that District 20 residents are very concerned over public safety and criminal activities in their community. From more than 700 people in attendance, a huge stack of comments were left by those not having enough time to speak. 418 people answered a simple survey of their concerns on the level of crime in their neighborhood. 129 people (31%) rated criminal activity in their neighborhood as Very High and indicated they were worried enough to consider moving away. Another 149 people (36%) said that criminal activity was High in their area and negatively affected their quality of life. In addition, 127 people (30.5%) felt criminal activity was Moderate but Increasing in their neighborhood. Finally, 12 people (2.8%) felt criminal activity was Low, not a concern, but they attended the Listening Session to make sure it stayed that way. 405 of the 418 respondents (more than 97%) felt criminal activity was an issue of concern!"
"Since August 8th a Core group of about thirty District 20 constituents who helped put together the Listening Session have been meeting bi-weekly to discuss what we expect MPD to say on Sept.13th and how we can work to improve Public Safety. We brainstorm ways to collaborate with MPD such as supporting the passage of the proposed Nuisance Premise Abatement Ordinance as an effective tool to fight crime. All area communities already have taken steps to organize Neighborhood Watches. Neighbors are actively involved in sharing information and reporting suspicious acts. I understand that adding more police officers will solve only part of the escalating criminal activities in District 20. Every resident must share responsibility and take part in our effort to reclaim our neighborhoods. I am greatly encouraged by the huge turn out that demonstrated tremendous support and unity of spirit in this District. We are definitely on the right track."
"MPD reports that West Side Station is the city's busiest Police District with 25% of the total calls for service in Madison. For the first half of 2007 the West District responded to 21,216 calls for police service, an average of more than 100 calls per day. Currently the West District assigns 1 officer per 13,000 residents, covering about 15 sq. miles, or 63 miles of roadway per shift. That's why the police haven't been able to keep up with escalating crime in our District. The 30 additional police officers that Mayor Dave and Chief Wray agreed upon after our District's August 8th Listening Session is a good beginning! However, it's more important that policy makers use the additional resources wisely and embrace a tough stance against crime. Madison must send a strong message that we don't tolerate bad behaviors and that criminals will face consequences.
"After MPD Response Session on Sept. 13th my selected representatives from all four area communities within District 20 will continue to meet regularly with MPD staff to help implement the changes and insure continued success. Benchmarks will be established to measure accountability as both sides check progress and compare notes. In addition, I plan to consult with City & County Departments and Agencies to solicit help in our fight against crime. I would like to see existing laws enforced to hold parents and legal guardians of juveniles financially responsible to pay restitution for damages when their minor children participate in graffiti, theft, vandalism and other property crimes. This should send a message to parents who don't supervise their children's activities that negatively impact our neighborhoods. There should be no more slaps on the wrist for juvenile crime! I'm calling for zero tolerance for all crime, be it petty or severe. We must take care of the small violations so they won't escalate into big time problems.
"There is a real need for a Community Center in District 20: a place everybody feels comfortable to congregate and participate in inter-generational activities, a place where we can share information and enjoy visiting with friends and neighbors, a place where everyone knows your name.... I'm working with Habitat for Humanity on this project and hope to obtain a site near the Meadowood Shopping Center."
"I am so proud of my constituents who came out in unprecedented numbers on August 8th to share your personal stories of fears and frustrations over criminal activity in District 20. Your sheer presence and united participation at our Listening Session grabbed the attention of the Mayor, the Police Chief, other policymakers, the media, and the entire City. District 20 took a big step forward and set the template for fighting crime in Madison. Our voice resonated loud and clear and carried the message that all stakeholders must fight for Public Safety to protect the wonderful quality of life that is Madison!
"This will be our long difficult fight to take back our neighborhoods from the thugs. I am in it for the long haul and you have shown me I don't have to walk alone!
- Ald. Thuy Pham-Remmele957-4433