Good afternoon community members. The Madison Police Department – West District, is reaching out to provide an update on some recent trends we are seeing in the West District.
First, for some, it is holiday gift shopping time. With Covid-19, many are choosing to make gift purchases online, and deliveries to your front door are likely a regular occurrence as the holiday season is nearly upon us. We have seen a recent uptick in the theft of packages from the front door steps of several residences, and apartment complexes. If possible, please consider moving packages inside as soon as possible, or ask a neighborhood friend to monitor and potentially collect packages if you happen to be away during the day or early evening. Limiting the opportunity is one of the best ways to curb these thefts.
Some have installed doorbell cameras, which is great! If you happen to find the person responsible for the theft on video camera, we would appreciate a call to our non-emergency dispatch center (255-2345). Police calls for service are high, especially in the early evening. We apologize in advance if it takes a few hours for an officer to be able to respond to investigate. Self-report is another option for you, and if this is the method that you decide is best to report these thefts, please include in your narrative if you have video that has been reviewed and suspect information available. We will work to triage these online reports and will make an effort to retrieve the video in a timely manner. Self-report can take a few days to finds its way to the appropriate MPD district. Self-report is a popular mode to report issues/crime, and we appreciate your use of it. You can find this feature on our MPD Website at www.cityofmadison/police/selfreport. If you ever feel like you "never heard back" from the Madison Police, it may be due to the volume of reports and/or in the review process it was determined that evidence was likely not available that would assist with the investigation. If you ever feel like you needed or wanted that contact after filing a self-report and you didn't hear back from us – you should always feel free call our front office number (243-0500) and leave a message requesting follow-up. It will help us if have your self-report case number handy, which will help us determine who is the right officer or commander to call you back.
Second, the theft of Catalytic Converters is on the rise, especially in commercial districts in the West district. These thefts are occurring all over Dane County currently, mostly at night. Video evidence is likely going to be the best method for us in trying to identify person/s involved and or the vehicles they are travelling into the area with when they cut the Catalytic Converters from the undercarriage of your car. The converters are likely being sold to scrap metal dealers, sometimes out of the area.
Third, if you happen to be out an about, shopping, etc., please be mindful of leaving purses and packages in plain view in your car. Consider securing items of value in the trunk of your car. We have seen an uptick in persons smashing out car windows and taking purses and packages.
Fourth, stolen autos are still a problem in our community. Several recent arrests have resulted a slight decline in the number of stolen automobile cases we have been called to investigate. But this trend will likely be short lived as we move into colder weather. Nothing feels better than getting into a warm car as you head out, or off to work in the morning. Please, please resist the urge to warm up your car, while it is not attended. Suspects are driving around looking for cars sitting idle, and we very much feel that if we limit the opportunity, your chances of being victimized go way down. And, please don't ever leave an unattended child in a running car, if you need to just "run in quick" to get something. We will do all that we can to locate and arrest the persons involved in these cases, but it is important to know that most of our stolen automobiles are used for a day or two, driven recklessly, and then abandoned when a new opportunity presents itself. Our officers are doing a great job of locating and recovering the numerous stolen automobiles that exist in our community, but we very much want to limit the opportunity if possible.
Fifth, burglaries are also likely to see an uptick as the holiday season draws closer. As reminder, please try and remember to keep your garage doors closed and/or secured. Even during the day, open garage doors are being accessed to take cars and enter homes. If you have an attached garage, please also make an effort to lock your interior door...so even if someone were to gain entry into your garage, they would find your interior door locked. And as always, please secure any firearms you might own, and never leave them in your car, even if you think the car is secure. The number of guns stolen from locked and unlocked cars in the last several months is extremely high.
The last item we wish to convey is community connectivity. We as an organization are always striving to improve our relations and connections within the community. We hope that you might consider the same. Get to know your neighbors and be a good neighbor yourself. Surveillance cameras are great. Extra lighting and reinforced/locked doors are always a good thing...but looking out for one another might just be the best way to overcome some of the bad that seems to be 2020.
We in the West District wish you all the health and happiness during the upcoming holiday season.
Be safe, be well!
Lt. Gregory Esser
Madison Police Department
Detective Lieutenant – West District