Madison police announced Monday that they are stepping up enforcement on the southwest side of Madison in response to increasing concerns about crime in that area of the city, particularly the Orchard Ridge and Meadowood neighborhoods. On Monday, September 10, Captain Jay Lengfeld of the MPD's West District sent a letter to the "Residents of West Madison" describing the department's plans.
"The primary focus of this enforcement activity will be on public disorder and other illegal behavior that negatively impacts citizen's quality of life," wrote Lengfeld. 'I am strongly encouraging officers to issue citations and make physical arrests where appropriate.'
The city ordinances that officers have been asked to focus on cover a gamut of behaviors, though all would traditionally be characterized as non-violent. They include noise violation (a fine of $172), curfew violation ($52), permitting a dog to run at large ($109), depositing human waste products ($172), persons not to congregate on streets or sidewalks ($298), and unlawful fireworks ($424), among many others (see document at right).
All violations generally fall within the kind of quality-of-life issues, or "broken window" crimes, that many cities have taken to enforcing more aggressively in recent years, particularly in areas reputed to have higher rates of more serious property and violent crimes.
"Arrests for violations of the above ordinances could also have further consequences in civil law," concludes Lengfeld. "Property owners could be subject to a variety of nuisance abatement actions. Renters could face non-renewal or eviction."
Lengfeld's letter was issued four days before a meeting in the gym of St. Maria Goretti school, where MPD Chief Noble Wray and Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz will be speaking with neighborhood residents to discuss these issues and the city's plan to address them.