New safety initiative aims to prevent crime in Madison’s State Street area

State Street in Madison (Curt Lenz/WMTV)
State Street in Madison (Curt Lenz/WMTV)(NBC15)
Published: Feb. 13, 2023 at 3:21 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Public Health Madison & Dane County (PHMDC) is ramping up their safety efforts by leading a new safety initiative to prevent crime in downtown Madison.

“The State Street area is a vibrant gathering place where people come to be entertained and enjoy everything that Madison has to offer. We want to keep it that way,” Public Health Violence Prevention Supervisor Cindy Grady said.

Officials said that gun crime and sexual violence are safety priorities that influenced the council’s three primary strategies and interventions.

  • State Street bar and restaurant staff will get free bystander awareness training to help them stop potential sexual violence, prevent conflict and de-escalate and intervene when conflict occurs.
  • Safety Navigators will be stationed around State Street to welcome visitors and offer them help, including basic first aid, “safe walk” services, offering directions and more.
  • Increased lighting will be installed in the Buckeye parking lot above Peace Park to improve visibility.

An advisory council coordinated by PHMDC will lead the initiative. Members of the council will talk to people in their communities to learn what safety issues are of highest concern, according to Grady.

Members of the council include community leaders from non-profit organizations, leaders from University of Wisconsin’s Student Services, downtown business owners, elected officials and more, according to PHMDC.

The Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance awarded a federal grant to the city to facilitate the Isthmus Safety Initiative.

PHMDC encourages anyone interesting in becoming a Safety Navigator to apply on their website. Visit the Rape Crisis Center for more information on bystander awareness training.

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