Madison Police Department receives grant to help implement new crime prevention approach

MADISON, Wis. — The Madison Police Department has received a federal grant award that will help it implement what it calls its “wrap-around” approach to preventing crimes committed by teenagers.

The $125,000 grant will help provide resources directly into the homes of the city’s most familiar teenagers committing violence in the community. The police department said it wanted to stop the cycle of violence by providing resources directly to the younger siblings of those who have committed crimes so those kids don’t follow the criminal path.

A number of recent crimes in the city have involved minors, including Tuesday morning when a 13-year-old was taken into custody after allegedly crashing a stolen car on a Beltline off-ramp during rush hour.

Madison Police Capt. Mike Hanson believes this program will be a smart approach to preventing future crime by giving the younger siblings the resources they need to succeed.

“Talking with social workers and people that also support this notion, we came up with this wrap-around idea to ensure that they don’t go down a criminal path and they don’t idolize their siblings who have been arrested several times by police,” Hanson said.

READ MORE: 13-year-old taken into custody after crashing stolen car on Beltline off-ramp

MPD and RISE Wisconsin will be providing a number of different options for children, including potential tutoring, help for a better education, trauma care and home stabilization opportunities.

Monica Caldwell with RISE Wisconsin explained why she is excited to be a part of the initiative.

“We know that there’s a lot of complex needs out there right now for families,” she said. “They’re facing a lot, the kids are facing a lot of stress, so are their families, and so to have this opportunity with MPD in partnership to wrap around services for kids who need it, we couldn’t be more excited about it.”

Hanson admits the $125,000 grant is a small first step but added it’s an important first step toward building a better Madison.

The program will begin its implementation in January with a small group of families.

“All these things… lead to a productive and better environment and give kids a better opportunity and a sense of hope. Who could argue that?” Hanson said.