MADISON CRIME DOWN
Wednesday, July 22, 2009 - 8:15am
2ND Quarter UCR Data Released
Crime numbers in Madison continued to trend downward during the second quarter of 2009.
The Madison Police Department (MPD) released Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) data - Wednesday for the first six months of 2009.
All violent crime categories showed declines when compared with January-June 2008 numbers:
• Murder: 4 in 2008, 1 in 2009 (- 75%)
• Forcible Rape: 29 in 2008, 15 in 2009 (- 48.3 %)
• Aggravated Assault: 234 in 2008, 223 in 2009 (- 4.7%)
• Robbery: 173 in 2008, 158 in 2009 (-8.7%)
Other crime categories, with the exception of Theft, were also down:
• Burglaries: 1059 in 2008, 497 in 2009 (-53.1 %)
• Stolen Autos/Trucks/Motorcycles: 249 in 2008, 149 in 2009 (-40.2%)
• Theft: 2670 in 2008, 2728 in 2009 (+2.2%)
• Simple Assault: 728 in 2008, 649 in 2009 (-14.6%)
Chief Noble Wray cautions, "UCR data provides for a much better barometer on the community when analyzed over a much longer period of time; however, this favorable six-month snapshot does provide some evidence that a number of initiatives and changes we have undertaken are having positive results."
He says this is the first year all 30 of the new officers have been on the streets. Their hiring, and recruitment came in direct response to public hearings that were held in the summer of 2007, when citizens called for a greater police presence in their neighborhoods. New officers have- in particular - helped bolster the ranks of the department's Community Police Teams (CPT); units assigned to tackle problems specific to each district.
The MPD has also increased its number of commanders: one lieutenant is assigned to the Blue Net Burglary Task Force; another lieutenant is overseeing a robbery task force, and a third lieutenant is charged with coordinating a violent crimes task force. All units have enjoyed a good amount of success in recent months.
The department has also become better at deploying resources based on information supplied by new Crime Analysts, as they can indicate when and where additional officers would do the most good.
MPD Crime Analysts are also assisting in the sharing of information with other law enforcement partners - at both the federal and local levels. Coordinated efforts are helping solve crimes countywide.
Beyond additional resources, the department has also been enjoying great community support as citizens continue to act as the MPD's eyes and ears.
A case in point: In early July, a citizen - who lives near Hawks Landing on the West Side - called 91, after witnessing shots being fired from a moving car. The citizen is a car buff, and recognized the car immediately as a Buick Rendezvous.
His call to dispatch came at a time when West and South District Community Police Teams were working pro-actively to apprehend those involved in recent gun violence.
CPT members, and regular patrol officers were working in areas where crime analysts were detecting trends.
So when his call came in, MPD officers were in the area immediately. The Rendezvous was spotted and stopped at gunpoint.
A handgun, and bullet casings were recovered; two men were arrested. Detectives were able to generate additional information on one suspect, and that led to a storage locker search on the city's eastside. Inside the locker was a loaded AK47 assault rifle, and extra ammunition. It is now off the streets of Madison.
What did it take: An alert citizen and officers being in the right place - at the right time.
What we cannot lose sight of, is that despite these favorable UCR numbers, there are still many citizens who have the perception that crime has gotten worse. The truth is crime has changed. The MPD is now being called more frequently to some neighborhoods where there were no real problems just a decade ago. In some of these places crime has become more personal. It is one of the many reasons why the men and women of the Madison Police Department will continue to be pro-active; looking for the best ways to utilize community based policing strategies to address the challenges of an ever-changing city.
- Joel DeSpain, 266-4897