Crime statistics jump in 2020 in Madison, Sun Prairie

Published: Jan. 8, 2021 at 5:34 PM CST
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DANE COUNTY, Wis. (WMTV) - Last year was a year like no other; 2020 brought many surprises and unprecedented situations, including an increase in violent crime in Madison and Sun Prairie.

“It’s concerning to us that shootings have risen more than 100% this year,” Sun Prairie Lt. Kevin Konopacki said.

Fifteen miles away, it’s a similar story for Madison Police Capt. Dan Nale.

“Patrol officers especially were responding to a lot more violent acts throughout the city,” Capt. Nale said. “What it tells me, people are arming themselves at a higher rate.”

In Madison, between 2019 and 2020, shots fired incidents increased from 144 to 250; Homicides almost tripled from four to 11.

In Sun Prairie, shootings rose from seven to 16.

Along with the ripple effect of the pandemic, officers said other factors, causing stress, could have contributed to the reported numbers.

“We also had the contentious election and the social justice protests, and everything that went along with that,” Lt. Konopacki said. “So, I think if you put all of those factors together, you have to say, ‘is this the reason we’ve seen such an increase in shootings this year?’”

Both officers are concerned that the numbers on paper translate to more people using guns to solve their problems.

“Disturbances or disagreements in the past that had been settled with fists, it seems now they’re being settled with handguns,” Capt. Nale said.

“If you look nation-wide, gun violence continues to be a problem, this is a cultural issue that we need to get ahead of,” Lt. Konopacki said. “We’ve got to understand that we can’t solve all of our problems through these violent means.”

Police are calling on the community for help to create safer neighborhoods in 2021. Officers say this starts with law enforcement teaming up with local groups stop the violence before it starts.

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