MADISON, Wis. - The Madison Police Department released a statement saying a number of downtown crimes and a couple of high-profile cases have generated safety questions among residents. In response to those questions and the FBI naming Madison the fourth safest city in the country, MPD has released a report on downtown crime statistics.
Robbery and burglary numbers from May 1 to Sept. 23 for the past five years were compared based on different categories, according to a release.
The number of strong-armed robberies is up this year, police said. The increase is attributed to the national trend of "Apple picking," where smartphones are being stolen, sometimes right out of the owners' hands.
The comparisons showed no obvious spike in armed robberies despite reports of random home invasions early in September and the shot being fired on Langdon Street last week, according to the release.
Another type of crime impacting downtown residents is burglary, police said. Burglaries have increased from 2009 to 2013, but there have been fewer burglaries reported this year than 2012.
Many burglars enter homes through unlocked windows or doors and target expensive electronics, including four reported early Sunday in the 500 block of West Mifflin Street, according to the release. One suspect told an investigator, "College students get drunk, and they don't know what happens."
Attacks on young women are also a focus of MPD, according to the release. The women fought off the attacker in all three cases, but police said it is possible all three cases could be linked.
University of Wisconsin-Madison police and MPD plan to continue deploying additional patrol officers on the days and times when most problems happen downtown, according to the release.
MPD officers want residents to know that Madison is a great place to live, but just because it was named the fourth safest city in the country doesn't mean bad things don't happen, according to the release.
Officers encourage residents to follow these personal safety tips:
- Try not to walk alone at night, especially in dark or scarcely populated areas
- Be careful about displaying cell phones or other electronics when out in public
- Wearing headphones, particularly at night, decreases your ability to be aware of your surroundings
- If confronted by a robber, the best advice is to give up your property and don't resist
- Keep your doors and windows locked – even when you're home
- Don't prop open exterior doors
- Don't buzz people into your building that you do not know
- Record serial numbers of your valuables
- If you see suspicious or criminal behavior, do not hesitate, call 911
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