Recent Incidents and Downtown Safety

Chief Roman shared the following message to UW–Madison students via email on Tuesday, December 6, 2022.

Dear UW–Madison Community,

I want to take a moment to reach out following an unusual series of criminal incidents that occurred in the downtown area over the past week. All of these incidents happened off-campus and none directly involved any UW students. Even so, I know that the violence associated with these cases can impact our campus community and raise questions about general safety in downtown Madison and so for that reason I wanted to provide additional information.

Last Tuesday there was a shooting in the 100 block of State Street near the State Capitol building, as many of you are likely aware. Immediately upon learning of the incident, UWPD issued several Off-Campus Emergency Alerts to keep our campus community informed. The City of Madison Police Department (MPD) has reported that the incident was a targeted act in which the parties involved knew one another. Police continue their investigation and their search for the suspect. You can read more about the incident from MPD here.

Over the weekend, there were two additional incidents that occurred off-campus:

  • At approximately 2:20 a.m. on Saturday, MPD received several reports of gunshots heard near University Avenue and Frances Street. UWPD issued several off-campus alerts related to this incident. MPD reported no injuries or property damage in their investigation.
  • On Sunday shortly after 2 a.m., MPD responded to the 300 block of N. Frances Street for a report of a fight that escalated to a stabbing. Because of the proximity to campus and information leading police to believe the suspect may have fled toward campus, several WiscAlerts were issued. MPD and UWPD worked together to locate and arrest the suspect shortly after the incident and no ongoing threat to the community remains. As there were many witnesses in the area who left before police could speak with them, MPD is asking anyone with information to call 608-255-2345.

None of these incidents are connected to one another. While any acts of violence in our broader community cause understandable concern, it’s also important to emphasize that these types of incidents are rare occurrences. Even so, as much as we work on both prevention and visibility, unfortunately, we’re not immune to crime.

Of course, no recommended safety measure can fully guarantee that crimes will be prevented, but there are ways in which each of us can potentially deter crimes from occurring. So, what can you do?

Be vigilant. In addition to general safety tips, you can find a wealth of resources on UWPD’s website about various safety-related services and programs on campus:

Stay informed. Students are automatically enrolled in our WiscAlert emergency notification system, designed to quickly alert our community about an active and ongoing threat on campus. Students must opt-in to receive Off-Campus Emergency Alerts, issued when we’re aware of an off-campus incident within a certain geographical area and we want to inform you about immediate actions you can take to remain safe. You can opt-in and learn more about Off-Campus Emergency Alerts, and the geographical area that’s covered, here.

As I mentioned earlier, I understand the impact that these types of incidents and accompanying emergency notifications can have on members of our campus community, particularly during an already stressful time of year. Please know that resources are available to assist students in need of additional support.

As the fall semester winds down, please remember to take care of yourself and each other – and know that we at UWPD are here for you, too.

Kristen Roman

Chief of Police and Associate Vice Chancellor

UW–Madison Police Department