A Message From Your Langdon Neighborhood Officer
Hopefully you are all enjoying the nice weather out, as Spring has arrived! Even though the students spent the last few months stressing out over the exam period and end of semester deadlines, I'm happy to report that the Langdon Neighborhood area ended last year and started this year on a safe and rather uneventful note.
Even though there were no major incidents to report in the Neighborhood, MPD crime statistics continue to show that Theft from Auto incidents remain a persistent issue for downtown residents and visitors. In 2016, there were a reported 1,850 theft from auto incidents reported to the Madison Police Department city wide, which was almost a 20% increase from recent years past. Of the 98 theft from auto incidents from December of 2016, 41 of them occurred in the Central District. The numbers also show that these incidents are occurring more consistently during week nights, usually between the hours of 8 pm and 8 am.
One might think that the "smash and grab" entry style would be the main method used by these suspects, but the majority of these incidents actually occur to unlocked vehicles parked in parking ramps, on the street, and even in driveways or back yards of residences.
So here's what you can do to help keep your car safe and minimize your chances of becoming a victim to a theft from auto:
- Lock your car doors and close your windows.
- Never leave your vehicle running if unattended.
- Don't leave valuables in your car, and if you do, make sure they are concealed or kept out of plain sight. The most common stolen items include spare change, sunglasses, electronics, briefcases, purses, backpacks, and portable GPS units.
- Limit the amount of personal information kept in the glove box or console to avoid identity theft (and NEVER leave your car title in the car!).
- Park close to a light source and in highly visible areas.
If you are a victim of a theft from auto incident, or if you are witnessing something suspicious in your neighborhood, you should immediately report the incident to the Dane County Dispatch Center at 608-255-2345. You can also make an online self report at https://www.cityofmadison.com/police/selfreport/. If any electronics were stolen, please be ready to include the serial number of the item in order to aid in the investigation.
On a final note, I have investigated dozens of theft from auto complaints over the last several years, with many arrests being made due to citizen reports. Although video evidence is an important factor in helping to solve these cases, our statistics show that quite often these incidents are committed by a select few repeat offenders who are often found in possession of items stolen from multiple incidents. So, please make sure that any incidents are reported to the Madison Police Department.
Be safe, and have a great 2017!
Officer Shawn Kelly
Langdon Neighborhood Officer