The Covid-19 pandemic had many impacts, beyond the impacts to our health and wellbeing. One of the most concerning impacts has been elevated levels of violence across the county, including in our community.

Here in Madison we have worked hard --collaborating across many departments --to tackle these issues, taking a data informed approach and engaging in strategic planning and targeted interventions in multiple ways. We made unprecedented investments in affordable housing and rental assistance, in youth employment, in mental health crisis response, in homeless services, and in a public health approach to violence prevention over the past few years, because our I, our residents and our Common Council believe our City is stronger when our people are supported.

Today you’ll hear from Public Health Madison Dane County about their community-driven work on violence prevention; you’ll hear the results from the first year of service for the Madison CARES program, our mental health crisis response service staffed by paramedics and crisis workers; and you’ll hear the results from the Madison Police Department’s Summer Strategic plan, which ran from June to Oct. 31, to target and reduce gun violence in our community.

Together these departments are taking what I call a “Team City” approach to building strong, safe neighborhoods and a better Madison. These efforts are paying off and the trend lines are looking good, as you will see.

First up is Aurielle Smith Director of Policy, Planning and Evaluation at Public Health Madison & Dane County, followed by Ché Stedman Assistant Chief of Medical Affairs at Madison Fire Department, and finally you’ll hear from Madison Police Chief Shon Barnes. 

You can watch the presentation linked here.

I am pleased to see that incidents being reported to and discussed within Public Health’s Violence Prevention Unit are trending downward.  

I am very happy with the results of the CARES end-of-year report. As of today, CARES teams have gone beyond what you saw on the screen today and safely answered over 1,490 calls across our community. I provided funding in my 2023 budget to expand Madison CARES to the weekends and to a third, physical location next year.

I am pleased to see this good news coming out of the Madison Police Department (MPD) regarding their summer strategic plan. The fact that shots fired are down 21% over the same period last year is not an accident – it’s the result of a lot of hard work by MPD.

Thank you all for your tireless work and leadership in the public safety space.

The City of Madison will continue our collaborative efforts to build a safer community, healthier neighborhoods, and create opportunities for our youth, because we believe in taking a comprehensive, evidence based public health approach to violence reduction and prevention. We must continue to look at the entire landscape of public safety here in Madison and work together to make Madison and safe and welcoming place for all.

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