Madison police chief details plan to crack down on crime
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The Madison Police Department is assessing the results of the Summer Strategic Plan, launched months ago, to address several areas of crime rising in the city. Police Chief Shon Barnes says the plan focuses on shots fired, stolen cars, traffic safety, and youth crime.
“What’s driving crime in our city? what are the things we need to focus on?” said Barnes when asked what started the inception of the plan at the beginning of the year.
According to the annual reports from the department, car thefts and weapons law violations climbed from 2020 to 2021. Violent crimes like aggravated assault and rape jumped 3%. Barnes says data gathered by the department and surveys he conducted internally helped him land on where to focus the Summer Strategic Plan.
Barnes says crimes like auto thefts can lead to other crimes. He gave the example of stolen cars being used in shooting incidents and robberies or the break-ins committed by teens as a way crime can trickle-down to other offenses. But for the police chief, it also means cracking down on one area can lead to addressing other crimes.
“Traffic begins with education, so we try to do that first, we try to get out there, give people warnings, tell people about their driving, and then that visibility leads other people who may be driving stolen cars, to maybe I’m not gunna go down this road,” said Barnes.
He says shots fired incidents are down 15% ahead of the release of the quarterly report at the end of September. Barnes adds car thefts were down before a social media trend encouraged breaking into specific kinds of Kia and Hyundai models with vulnerable ignitions. Now, the department is focused on using the data and progress for continued growth.
“The SARA method is scanning, analysis, response, so we’re in the response portion, so once we’re done, we go into our assessment,” said Barnes. “Really, I think we’re headed in the right direction.”
He says now the department can focus on the bigger picture of working with the community to get ahead of crime.
“What were the underlying causes, what was driving shots fired,” said Barnes. “Let’s work on how do we put those things in place during the months when crime isn’t as high as during the summer.”
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