I am not inclined to sound like Chicken Little with echoes of "the sky is falling, the sky is falling!" As proof, each month I have been providing a summary of our year-to-date trajectory on several quality-of-life crimes and other indices and note that we are making positive strides in reducing thefts from autos, burglaries, "shots fired incidents" and homicides. But there are also some disturbing trends like the number of overdoses, overdose-related deaths and stolen autos. Overdoses are a part of a national epidemic and we continue to work collaboratively with service providers in diverting at least some of these cases toward a treatment option through our MARI grant (Madison Addiction Recovery Initiative). However, the stolen autos that we continue to deal with on an almost daily basis is something that has particularly piqued my interest insofar as it has cast a light on a seriously flawed phenomenon---the failure of a juvenile justice system to properly prevent/intercede/treat/or hold accountable chronic offenders.
MPD has initiated public awareness campaigns across a host of social media platforms, public service announcements, neighborhood forums and watch meetings, leafletting and has even gone door-to-door on occasion to try to get folks to close garage doors, lock cars, and take simple steps to prevent being victimized. We have worked collaboratively with families, mentors, not-for-profits, social service agencies, clergy, prosecutors, judges, schools and media to try to call attention to the fact that we have a group of juveniles who have effectively demonstrated that they are impervious to juvenile "justice" system(s) that lack sufficient resources to alter outcomes which can only lead to "adult" sanctions in the near future.
I am out in the public--a lot. People are frustrated over the stolen cars issue and want to know if we are making any headway, or more bluntly, "why don't you make some arrests???" I tell people, emphatically, that our cops ARE making arrests---they have not lost their zeal but they are becoming more disheartened that the complementary pieces of the "system" are releasing people just as fast as arrests are made. Stolen autos are the most visible touchstone for everyone's malcontent but I can assure you that we have a revolving door malady that has become hard to ignore for a small but consequential group of juveniles. By way of example, for the reporting period of 1/1/18-7/19/18, 32 juveniles have accounted for almost 22% of all of our juvenile contacts for incidents of property crime, crimes against persons, and stolen autos. Here is a snap shot:
32 Juveniles impact on police resources in the City –
- 37 stolen auto incidents
- 24 persons related incidents
- 46 property related incidents
- 1 drug related incident
Total of 108 incidents (roughly 9 incidents per month).
Officers report that when making arrests of some of these juveniles, they are wearing GPS monitoring devices attached from a previous court case. Increasingly, youthful offenders driving stolen vehicles are not hesitating to flee officers. Video obtained from some homeowners' private cameras display a boldness that is both intentional and reckless. MPD is currently working a case where a number of juvenile offenders took part in breaking into a home and sexually assaulting a defenseless woman.
Someone stopped me in the street and pointed out that Wisconsin used to have a "joyriding" statute on the books and this is no different than what they experienced as a rite of passage growing up. Sort of a "kids will be kids" rationalization. I disagree(d). When you put a youthful and inexperienced driver behind the wheel of a two-ton bullet (car), the potential for a pursuit could lead to tragic results. Additionally, we have had reports from constituents advising that in light of their personal fear of having their homes entered while still present, some are considering the purchase of a handgun for personal defense of their family. While the Castle Doctrine may be a viable legal defense, no one wants to have to deal with the taking of a life when a juvenile-burglar rifling through someone's car in a garage ends up getting shot.
Our officers are well-acquainted with these offenders and are implementing focused deterrence initiatives in an attempt to take away the notion that juvenile offenders can move seamlessly about the City, committing crimes anonymously. While coordination will be done by our gang unit, we will also be tasking our community policing teams and neighborhood officers to be a part of this response. This has yielded some positive results in the past and we are hoping to at least slow the pace of what has been occurring.
As is the case with so many policing initiatives, the cops cannot go it alone. We will continue to need a coordinated, comprehensive, community response. To be effective, this response must include an effective juvenile justice system that is concerned with the impact offenders have on their victims and the community at large.
The information contained in my blog is derived from notes provided by MPD Officers-In-Charge (OIC) at the end of their shifts. Most narratives represent early and preliminary information that was gathered by an OIC from those in the field who were actively working cases. The OIC is sharing what they were being told, in the moment. In many instances, facts and circumstances, even the type of crime listed, can change as officers, detectives and investigators continue their work.
From 6:00 a.m. on 09/05/2018 through 6:00 a.m. on 09/06/2018, MPD received 494 calls for service. This number does not include parking complaints or 911 misdials. For purposes of clarification, the following abbreviations are short-hand for race designations: W=White, AA=African American, NA=Native American, H=Hispanic, ME=Middle Eastern, A=Asian, MR=Mixed Race, U=Unknown. MPD shifts are staggered as follows: 1st detail=7 a.m. to 3 p.m., 2nd detail=12 p.m. to 8 p.m., 3rd detail=3 p.m. to 11 p.m., 4th detail=8 p.m. to 4 a.m., 5th detail=11 p.m. to 7 a.m.
To further break down the 494 calls for service for the past 24-hours this is how the calls came in per district: Central (97), East (86), Midtown (80), North (67), South (66), West (68), and Other (30). Other=these are calls for service that either do not have a sector listed or the sector is not in the City. For example, if one of our officers assists another law enforcement agency, their sector is not listed in our districts so therefore it is listed under "other".
1) MIDTOWN: Missing Juvenile/Runaway – 10:18 a.m. Officers responded to a report of a missing/runaway juvenile (14-year-old AAM). No immediate safety concerns noted. Attempt to locate aired. The juvenile was listed as missing/runaway in the appropriate databases. Investigation continuing.
2) CENTRAL: Drug Incident/Overdose – 10:35 a.m. Officers responded to E. Wilson St/N. Hancock St for a subject (58-year-old AAM) experiencing an overdose. MPD administered Naloxone to the subject, which revived him. No evidence of drug use located. No charges have been substantiated at this time. The subject was conveyed to a local hospital. Investigation continuing.
3) MIDTOWN: Death Investigation – 12:32 p.m. Officers responded to a residence for a report of a deceased subject (88-year-old WF). Nothing suspicious observed on scene. Medical Examiner's office notified.
4) CENTRAL: Mental Health Conveyance – 12:47 p.m. Officers responded to a disturbance in the 100 block of N. Bedford St. Officers made contact with a female subject (19-year-old AF) and subsequently took her into protective custody and conveyed her to a local hospital for an evaluation. The subject was left in the care of medical staff.
5) MIDTOWN: Death Investigation – 2:07 p.m. Officers responded to a residence regarding a deceased subject (26-year-old WM). The decedent had recent health issues. Nothing suspicious observed on scene. Medical Examiner's office responded. Investigation continuing.
6) EAST: Assist EMS/Fire: 2:34 p.m. Officers responded, along with EMS/Fire, to an east side residence regarding a suicidal subject (48-year-old WM). The subject was conveyed to a local hospital for an evaluation. The subject was left in the care of medical staff.
7) MIDTOWN: Crash – 3:06 p.m. Officers responded to the intersection of Odana Rd/S. Whitney Way for a report of a four-vehicle crash. The suspect driver/vehicle ran a red light according to witnesses; thus causing a multi-vehicle crash. A light post was hit and all traffic lights at the intersection went down. MG&E responded. Two subjects were transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Officers spent quite a bit of time on scene assisting with traffic. Charges may be forthcoming. Investigation continuing.
8) CENTRAL: Death Investigation – 9:54 p.m. Officers responded to a residence for a deceased subject (32-year-old WF). The decedent had a history of huffing (a large amount of compressed air cans was found in the home). Medical Examiner's office responded. Investigation continuing.
9) CENTRAL: Crash – 11:24 p.m. Officers responded to W. Gilman St/University Ave for a motor vehicle v. moped crash. The suspect driver (21-year-old WM) was backing up in a parking lot when he struck a moped/victim (21-year-old WF). The victim sustained minor injuries. The suspect was cited for unsafe backing.
10) NORTH: Adult Arrested Person – 2:46 a.m. Officers responded to Dwight Drive for a subject/suspect (26-year-old AAM) causing a disturbance (yelling, screaming, pounding on walls). The suspect was contacted and arrested for disorderly conduct and a probation hold.