Community members voice concern over safety in Leopold School neighborhood

Published: Mar. 22, 2018 at 9:39 PM CDT
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Alder Sheri Carter hosted a Community Forum at Leopold School on Thursday to allow teachers, parents, and community members to ask questions of police and school officials.

The forum comes after reports of shots fired near Leopold School last Wednesday left the school in lockdown and Fitchburg Police with few leads.

The following day, a Leopold School staff member found a handgun on school grounds while walking to school with her daughter.

Upon further investigation, authorities have determined that the handgun was likely not the gun used to the day before. The handgun showed evidence that it had been under snow for some time.

The events prompted conversation in the neighborhood about safety around the school.

One area resident expressed concern that not enough was being done to keep the neighborhood safe. "What are you guys doing differently? Because clearly there is a problem in this area," she said.

Captain Patterson of the Madison Police Department stated that though it seems crime is up in the neighborhood, similar incidents have been widespread.

"There's been 35 incidents of shots fired [in the last week] around the City of Madison. They have not occured in the Arbor Hills- Leopold area. They have been basically 'salt and peppered' all over the City of Madison," explained Patterson.

Residents asked about security cameras, and whether they could be installed throughout the streets.

Alder Carter said the City has already purchased a camera to be installed off of Todd Drive.

Other cameras throughout the streets, though, might be controversial. According to Patterson, cameras in the streets might make some people feel safe, and other people feel uncomfortable. He explained it would also be expensive.

Extra cameras in area schools may be more viable, though.

Madison Metropolitan School District Safety and Security Coordinator Joe Balles said the schools already have several cameras, but that he is currently looking at installing additional exterior cameras ins schools.

"Since Parkland, Florida, I can tell you that the Madison School District has really doubled down on all of our security efforts," Balles said.