Madison police chief addresses downward trend in violent crime, rise in some burglaries
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Madison Police Department Chief Shon Barnes said that the city is “trending in the right direction” during a speech Friday afternoon to address the State of Public Safety in the city.
During his speech, Barnes shared data from MPD comparing crime numbers in 2022 to 2021. Several areas showed improvement, but not all.
According to MPD, in 2022, Madison saw a 14% drop in aggravated assaults involving guns and a 40% decrease in homicides compared to 2021.
“One loss of life is one too many,” Barnes said. “The only acceptable number of homicides in our community or any other community in America is zero.”
While there’s been a decrease in these violent crimes and others, Barnes said non-residential burglaries continue to rise, going up 43% in 2022.
“We did, however, see a spike in non-residential burglaries,” Barnes said. “This is an area that we are concerned with, and we’re working to address this problem.”
In particular, Barnes said MPD is looking to decrease the number of stolen cars in 2023. Barnes said there was a 12% decrease in stolen cars in 2022.
“When I came here in 2021, one of the things that I heard was about young people stealing cars,” Barnes said. “Not only did the department, but the community as well, wanted us to be strategically focused on this particular issue.”
Barnes said his three principles toward lowering crime are crime prevention, community engagement and employee safety and wellness. Barnes touted the importance of the community’s involvement in lowering crime and said it’s just as important as MPD’s.
“I commend our community for stepping up and speaking up,” Barnes said. “They understand and recognize that we cannot do this alone. We all have to take ownership when it involves keeping Madison safe.”
The Madison Crime Stoppers tip line received of 700 calls from the community in 2022. Those calls led to 11 different arrests.
Looking ahead, Barnes said plenty of work still needs to be done.
“I don’t want you to think that this is a victory,” Barnes said. “I’m stating the facts. We’re doing well. Crime is going down, which is where it’s supposed to be, but I think there’s still room to grow. There’s always room to grow.”
Within that growth, Barnes said MPD will provide its officers two wellness days to improve their work and life balance.
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