Madison officials assure downtown is safe after State Street shooting

Madison Police Department Chief Shon Barnes said extra patrols will be out in the State Street area for the foreseeable future.
Madison Police Department Chief Shon Barnes said extra patrols will be out in the State Street area for the foreseeable future.
Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 5:38 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Madison officials and police are assuring the community Wednesday that the city’s downtown is a safe place to shop and eat during the holiday season following a shooting on the 100 block of State Street the day before.

Madison Police Department Chief Shon Barnes and Downtown Madison Executive Director Tiffany Kenney addressed the public during a news conference Wednesday.

“We know that many of you may feel uneasy after last night’s events and we want to reassure our public that we’re doing everything possible to keep Madison safe,” Barnes said.

The chief noted that extra police patrols will be out in the State Street area indefinitely. Officers have also been out speaking with business owners about safety plans for them.

Madison officials and police hold a news conference about Tuesday's shooting on State Street.
Madison officials and police hold a news conference about Tuesday's shooting on State Street.(Marcus Aarsvold/NBC15)

Barnes said that since State Street is part of what MPD considers its “Special Events” zone, it gives its analysts access to data to reference about the area. The Special Events corridor was described as all of State Street, University Avenue and to Gilman Street. Barnes said that in 2021, MPD responded to 11 weapons incidents in the zone. Tuesday’s shooting was the first weapons incident in the zone, meaning they went through the whole summer without a weapons incident. Barnes said that generally speaking, crime has been trending down in the area for several years.

“Generally, downtown is very safe, and we welcome anyone to come down, even after difficult instances like last night,” said Downtown Madison President Jason Ilstrup. “If we can create magnates that are going to draw people into downtown, that’s going to create a secure environment where that’s going to create real and perceived safety here in downtown.”

Ilstrup says criminal instances sat at around 3,800 in 2015, dropping to roughly 2,500 in 2021.

Barnes pointed that when compared to specific types of crimes from 2016-2022, this year’s levels for State Street are well below what was reported in 2016 or 2019. He also said that the State Street area is at or below what was reported during the summer of 2020, when much of the year was spent in lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. NBC15 has requested the data on crime numbers referenced during the press conference and will update this story when it is received.

Kenney also wanted to tell the public that it is safe to come downtown, but understands that the community may be worried.

“While this is upsetting anywhere that it happens and anytime that it happens, it is a little bit more visible here in the heart of the city and a little bit more alarming at this time of year, at any time of year,” Kenney said.

Kenney urged the community to visit downtown businesses and restaurants during the busy upcoming holiday season.

“But this last part of the year is the most important and vital for them economically, so we hope this one incident does not ruin your love from downtown and does not discourage you from coming downtown,” Kenney said. “We invite you to come here, do not let one scary incident take your downtown away from you.”

Madison Police Department responds to a shooting Tuesday on the 100 block of State Street.
Madison Police Department responds to a shooting Tuesday on the 100 block of State Street.(Colton Molesky/NBC15)

Also during the news conference Wednesday, Chief Barnes released the name of the 40-year-old man wanted in connection with the daytime shooting on State Street.

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