Safety summit to address rise in crime on West side [UPDATED]

****UPDATE June 11, 2015: This planned meeting has been cancelled, Madison Commons has learned****

After a recent stretch of shootings and weapons violations in Madison’s West Police District, neighborhood leaders are holding a summit Thursday to examine ongoing public safety issues and discuss possible solutions.

While the meeting is not open to the public, organizer and District 9 Alder Paul Skidmore said it will be an opportunity for community leaders and local police to hold a candid discussion about the problems facing the West District, which he said have been overlooked following the shooting death of Tony Robinson in March.

“One thing that’s gone unnoticed is the [week] before the officer-involved shooting, there was a weapons incident at West Towne where shots were exchanged by people who were settling their dispute with weapons,” Skidmore said.

Following the West Towne Mall shooting, Madison Police Department Chief Mike Koval said the incident was gang-related. Since then, numerous weapons violations or reports of shots fired have continued in the area.

West District incident reports, defined by MPD as any call for service or an officer’s self-initiated activity, have risen nearly five percent in comparison to last year’s to-date numbers, from 18,542 to 19,398, according to the monthly updates posted on the district’s website.

Skidmore hopes the meeting will uncover reasons behind the crimes and spark solutions on the city’s west side.

“We’re going to educate the neighborhood leaders to see what the real situation is and how best they might be able to work with their constituency to apprise them of the situation, have them do the right things,” he said.