Website helps you track what's happening in your neighborhood

We tracked crime data in our story, but the Neighborhood Indicators has other details. The indicators range from property values to numbers of families in the neighborhood. If you'd like to see what's happening in your neighborhood visit

Posted Tuesday, May 13, 2014 --- 11:00 a.m.

People living in the Greenbush neighborhood, near Vilas Park, feel at home.

"People are out on the street, and tending to their yards," said John Perkins, the Greenbush Neighborhood Association President.

"People are pretty nice," said Justin Robbins. He lived in many houses around the neighborhood over the years. He doesn't live there anymore, but still works maintenance on some of the homes in the area.

A home he's most familiar with in the area is his step-mother, Deborah Laurel's house.

"I moved into the neighborhood in 1986... it was a really, quiet comfortable neighborhood," said Laurel.

But this nice neighborhood is dealing with crime.

"These burglary and theft are historical, endemic to the student housing areas in Greenbush," said South District Captain Joe Balles of the Madison Police Department.

The neighborhood is mixed -- with both students and longtime homeowners like Laurel.

"I'm not foolish, when I leave i lock the door. When I go upstairs ... I lock the door," said Laurel.

"I am conscious that it can happen -- that it has happened. It happened to me once, that was an uncomfortable feeling and it terrified my child," said Laurel.

Police take home break-ins seriously.

"How do you ever feel safe in your house after something like that happens... even if you never saw the person, just the fact, knowing that somebody came into my house forcibly and took whatever," said Captain Balles.

Over 130 property crimes in 2013 in Greenbush, with some of them armed, have neighbors worried.

"Oh yeah, that's very shocking," said Laurel about number of crimes against property in Greenbush.

"The neighborhood in general has been on a little more on edge when we saw a number of incidents happening in a very short period of time," said Perkins.

"There was two, pretty significant home invasions that happened, where homes were entered, late at night individuals at gunpoint," said Captain Balles.

Captain Balles says after the armed robberies, people in the neighborhood took action.

On the City of Madison's website, they have what's called, "neighborhood indicators." It's a partnership between the City of Madison and the UW-Applied Population Lab. It keeps data on every neighborhood in the city year by year.

We used it to find some of our data for this story. Anyone can go online, find trends and maps of their neighborhood year by year.

If you do use the neighborhood indicators, keep in mind all calls from all buildings in a neighborhood are taken into account. It may not necessarily be a reflection of the people who live there. For example, the Regent Neighborhood may have a high number of assault calls from reported fights at West High School.

"Realize that people have this data available to them ... as you saw, it's pretty easy to go grab this stuff," Captain Balles.

If those in the Greenbush neighborhood took a look at the numbers, they'd see the theft trend on their streets is going down, and the decrease is significant over the last three years.

"For the whole South District, from 2010 through last year, we had a 34 percent decrease in burglary... that's the entire district but the most of that happens up here in these areas," Captain Balles.

Balles is referring to an area including the Greenbush neighborhood, a target for burglaries.
south district

Today, the neighborhood has a heightened sense for crime.

"People generally do feel safe. There's definitely a recognition we've got a wide variety of people living in the neighborhood," said Perkins.

They can begin to breath a sigh of relief.

"Perfectly safe. If I didn't feel safe I wouldn't live here, and I certainly wouldn't bring my grandchildren here," said Laurel.

"Any decrease it significant. and the fact of the matter is it's moving in a good direction," said Captain Balles.

The website is

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