A recent surge in violent crimes this fall, including two Monday night, continue to stretch the resources of the Madison Police Department’s crime investigations unit.
Just after midnight Tuesday morning, a 23-year-old male was mugged and assaulted on the 100 block of West Gilman Street. Just three hours earlier Monday night, a different man was attacked by six juveniles on the 200 block of North Hamilton Street.
The Gilman Street victim was walking eastbound down Gilman when he was attacked, according to the police report.
The victim was suspicious he was being followed and reportedly crossed the street to distance himself from the suspects, said central district Lt. Joe Balles.
The victim was followed farther, hit several times with a silver pistol and robbed of his backpack, wallet and cell phone. The suspects were described as two black males wearing black hooded sweatshirts and dark jeans.
“We think there is a link between this and the assault and robbery that took place in front of Bascom Hall,” Balles said, referring to the Sept. 11 attempted mugging of a UW staff member.
According to Balles, a detective has been examining video archives from the city’s downtown security cameras in hopes of finding a duo that fits the police report’s description.
According to a police report, the Hamilton Street assault and burglary is not linked to the incident on Gilman. After asking the victim for a cigarette, six young men, reportedly 15 and 16 years old, attacked the man but were unsuccessful when attempting to steal his backpack.
The perpetrators were stopped near the site of the robbery after trying to run away, the police report said. Although no link has been associated between this and the attack on Gilman Street, both victims were walking alone at the time of attack.
While the police department continues to investigate, Balles said students should be taking extra precautions around campus, especially late at night.
“We’ve got suspect descriptions, but people really need to take an exercise to diligence,” Balles added. “Walk in pairs, and this includes men too. If you’re out there after bar time get in a cab — male or female.”
Although the past couple weeks have seen an abundance of crime and robbery, Balles said Madison’s crime rate has not risen since last year.
Some University of Wisconsin students have voiced their concerns and recognitions after recent incidents.
“I think the police department should spend more time preventing these crimes and less raiding the bars,” UW sophomore Becca Wong said.
UW sophomore Sara Friedman disagrees.
“I think the police are doing as much as they can to prevent things like this from happening, but for now everyone needs to be extra careful and remember that there is always strength in numbers,” Friedman said.
Dean of Students Lori Berquam said students should walk in groups and always carry a cell phone. If assaulted, they should report the incident to Madison or UW police, she added.