While Badgers celebrated Homecoming Saturday afternoon, campus and city police officers met with members of the Langdon Street neighborhood as part of a regularly scheduled patrol on game days.
Every game day, two police officers from the Madison Police Department, two police officers from the University of Wisconsin Police Department, two Greek Life Coordinators from the Center for Leadership and Involvement and Langdon Street Neighborhood Officer Grant Humerickhouse walk through the Langdon neighborhood to keep an eye on pre-game events.
Saturday morning, The Badger Herald tagged along to get an inside look into how city and campus officials address safety enforcement in one of the most frequented neighborhoods in the city before and after the game.
Humerickhouse said the groups generally just touch base with groups hosting events and make sure no safety violations occur.
Around 14 police officers gathered in front of the Wisconsin Alumni Association on Saturday morning to discuss their work and how they planned to address the influx of thousands of people that came to watch Saturday’s Homecoming football game before heading out onto the street.
The first stop was Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity, where the yard was filled with about 20 male UW students dressed in red setting their event up. A “ΠΚΑ ALUMS” banner was hung from the house balcony. Humerickhouse and his crew checked in with the fraternity president to ensure the event would stay within the property and not spill out onto the sidewalk.
Humerickhouse said he was concerned about the risk caused by beer glass bottles that the fraternity used to stack on the balcony, but fraternity members said they had removed the bottles. The crew wished them a good day and moved on.
“They can get scared because they think the police here are on force,” Humerickhouse said. “We may be just here, like in this case, just to make sure everything is good. And this guy, the president, has been really receptive in the past about ideas of keeping them safe.”
Humerickhouse said MPD and UWPD have been working on communication with the Langdon Street community throughout the year. During the past few years, with money from the Downtown Safety Initiative, they have been able to increase patrols and communications to identify problems, he said.
While crime rates tend to peak on game days, Halloween, the Mifflin Street Block Party and other similar days, the numbers have remained average over the years, Humerickhouse said.
He added that crime rates tend to rise about eight to 10 percent when alcohol is involved. Alcohol creates victims and the ability for people to become identifiable, he said.
Most people showed their friendliness and cooperation. At Jewish Experience of Madison, a resource and activity center of Jewish community in Madison and also a home for a Jewish family, the owner welcomed the police officers into his house and asked if they wanted some coffee. The owner said it was also his responsibility to build a safe community.
Over the course of the morning, the group covered the area of North Frances Street, Langdon Street and State Street. Most of the time they stopped by, talked to the people in charge to enforce safety rules and left. No incidents occurred in the area during the morning.