Community group works to end violence in Allied Dunn’s Marsh neighborhood

Amid recent shootings, the Allied Dunn’s Marsh Neighborhood Association is working to curb violence in the community.
Published: Jul. 14, 2020 at 10:26 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Amid recent shootings, the Allied Dunn’s Marsh Neighborhood Association is working to curb violence in the community.

According to a July 11 Madison Police Report, officers were dispatched to the 2300 block of Allied Drive around 12:15 a.m. Officers found shell casings and bullet damage to buildings, according to the report.

Community members said it’s one of many instances of nighttime violence in the past few months.

"It's always been a nice neighborhood." Hassan Benani, resident said.

Benani has lived in the Allied Dunn's Marsh neighborhood right behind Allied Park for almost five years.

"It's been relatively quiet but not in the last few couple weeks," Benani said.

He said recently he's been on edge.

"There are two bullets that hit close to me. The first one woke me up, the second one alerted me to call 911," he said.

Benani said he woke up to gun shots last Saturday morning.

"The third bullet I didn't find until the following morning," he said.

Three bullets pierced his home. Two of them made it inside.

The sign at Allied Park said it closes at 10 p.m., but the neighborhood association said community activity does not match the rule, calling the park a hot spot for nighttime violence.

"Why are there parties allowed during this pandemic late at night with that large amount of people?" Benani said.

"People hanging around that we don't know, crowds of people gambling," Angela Jackson, Allied Dunn's Marsh Neighborhood Association president said.

Jackson said the group is trying to get three things installed at Allied Park: streetlights, security cameras and barricades to separate homes from the park.

"I want it to be peaceful and not known for violence," Jackson said.

"Not to tear up this park, not to be shooting in the park, not to be partying at 2, 3, 4:00 in the morning," Alice Howard, Allied Dunn's Marsh Neighborhood Association former president said.

Howard said in the early 2000s the neighborhood had a reputation of being "violent," but for the last two decades, she said the association has been working to turn the tide and start a new conversation.

"We're trying to live peacefully and if you want to leave peacefully with us, we don't mind you coming over here, but we're not putting up with the violence," Howard said.

Jason Freedman, Madison Police Midtown District Captain, said the department is concerned about the record level of gun violence in the community.

“We are doing the best we can to try and address it,” Freedman said. 

He explained officers had a meeting recently to talk about ways to curb violence in the Allied Dunn’s Marsh neighborhood, such as getting more street lighting and talking to people who host parties at Allied Park. 

Freedman explained COVID changes how officers can police. He said most patrol cars are downtown to monitor protests and other officers are responding to violent crimes in the area, so it’s difficult to respond to calls that are non-violent. 

“We support what the community is trying to do, but there’s no easy answer. We encourage them to continue to call if something doesn’t feel right,” he said. 

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