Violence on Bettys Lane has residents upset

Massive fight happened in neighborhood last Friday

Published On: Jul 03 2013 09:06:57 AM CDT   Updated On: Jul 03 2013 01:25:33 PM CDT
MADISON, Wis. -

The violence near Bettys Lane on Madison's southwest side has some residents thinking about moving out.

"This is just what I remember coming up as a kid, and it's sad when you can't play in your neighborhood," said Bettys Lane resident Nataki Brown-Williams. "And coming from Chicago, you know, this is bad."

She's raising six kids ages 1 through 17 on Bettys Lane. But after last Friday's fight that involved between 50 and 75 people on the corner of her street and Theresa Terrace, Brown-Williams has had enough.

"It's like, let's go," said Brown-Williams. "I tell my husband all the time, let's just get up and go."

It's a problem city officials call systemic.

"There's quite a bit of violence right in that specific neighborhood and it's not acceptable," said Madison Alder Matt Phair.

Madison police said they've increased patrols in the Bettys Lane area, but stronger police presence may only be part of the solution.

"Really, it's going to take community involvement," said Madison police spokesperson Howard Payne. "It's going to take parents getting involved with their children and their activities so these types of incidents don't happen."

City officials are taking a role in turning around the neighborhood, as well. They're implementing a kids' summer program and building a neighborhood center slated to be finished this fall, among other initiatives.

"Working with landlords to maybe get some of the tenants out who are some of the bad actors in the neighborhood, that's one of the things we're really focusing on," said Phair.

All Brown-Williams is asking for is a safe place to raise her kids, and a neighborhood she can feel comfortable living in.

"Change, change," said Brown-Williams. "Meaning: the bad people out and the good people in."