Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


City crime rates rise during 2006

[media-credit name=’SUNDEEP MALLADI/Herald photo’ align=’alignright’ width=’336′]Policenumbers-SM[/media-credit]The city of Madison experienced an increase in violent crime and robberies last year, according to data released Monday by the Madison Police Department.

The 2006 Uniform Crime Report was presented at the City County Building Monday morning.

Although overall crime has continuously decreased since the early 1990s, violent crime — such as homicides, robberies and forcible rape — increased 16.5 percent since 2005.


Despite last year's increase in violent crime, Police Chief Noble Wray said he believes Madison remains a safe city.

"Madison is still one of the safest cities in the United States for a city our size," Wray said. "The most violent time in this city's history was 1990 to 1993, and we are nowhere near having the number of Type 1 (violent crime) offenses as we had back then."

Robberies have increased 31.8 percent since 2005, making up a majority of the violent crimes committed. Burglaries in Madison rose 11 percent; however, those rates have been much higher in the past.

And, compared to 2005, forcible rape decreased 16.2 percent.

"We have seen an increase in robberies in the city of Madison," Central District Detective Lt. Mary Lou Ricksecker said. "This is an increase that law enforcement has experienced around the nation — we are not unique in that."

Pattern robberies — or multiple robberies committed by a few individuals — make up the majority of these incidences.

Last year, there were 15 reported robberies between mid-August and mid-September linked to just five individuals. The MPD found downtown to be the focus of these crimes.

The suspects, who were mostly male, tended to target intoxicated persons walking home after a night on the town.

According to Ricksecker, the police's strategy in combating this trend was to assign additional staffing, emphasizing engagement from the community, and conducting "surveillance, undercover operations and curfew enforcements."

Despite increases in other types of crime, the number of juvenile and adult arrests decreased 10.1 percent in 2006.

"When we look at those arrests, we do believe that a successful Halloween event and successful Mifflin Street events are at least in part responsible for that decrease," said Dan Olivas, records and technology lieutenant for the MPD.

The MPD offered suggestions at the meeting for how Madison residents could stay safe. Many of the suggestions included basic steps, such as locking windows and doors at night, and keeping valuable possessions out of plain sight.

"We ask that people be good witnesses — watch out for their neighbors and report suspicious activity," said Tom Snyder, MPD criminal intelligence section captain.

For those students who live in secure apartment buildings, Snyder urges residents to not buzz in unknown persons upstairs. He also advised students to take precautions while they are away for lengthy periods of time, by leaving a few lamps on and making arrangements for mail to be picked up.

University of Wisconsin sophomore Mara Merutka said she is not concerned with robberies as much as she is with assault.

"From a student who lives on Langdon Street, I am nervous walking home alone at night," Merutka said. "It is especially frightening when police officials are nowhere to be seen."

In response to students' fear of crime — which has been a large topic of debate during the current city election — Wray said he is confident Madison is a safe community.

"I believe Madisonians can rest assured that we are going to do everything we can to help keep the community safe," Wray said. "But, we do need their help."

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