Judging crime trends by looking at the incidents reported in the news is not a particularly sound method. The media is selective in what they choose to report, as is the police department with press releases and online "incident reports."
I subscribe to each Madison police department districts (more or less monthly) newsletters and yesterday the East District's latest newsletter was published with a comparison of crime numbers within that district for the past three years. It shows crime number up in a few categories, down in some and fairly even in the rest. If you want a better idea of what is going on around Madison, the PD has a link on their websitehttp://www.cityofmadison.com/police/cri ... tterms.cfm
to a interactive map where you can select types of incidents/crimes that have occurred over various period of time. It's a good way to keep on top of what's been happening in your part of town, plus the locations of registered sex offenders.
While I'm not a huge fan of either guy, assigning responsibility for upswings in crime numbers to the mayor or to the chief of police is a tenuous enterprise in my opinion. If you could indicate specifically which policies they have enacted or endorse that you believe contribute to higher crime rates, you'd be standing on firmer ground. The idea that the police play the most significant role in crime prevention
I believe is simply wrong. What the police can contribute to crime prevention is limited. Their major role in preventing crimes is by responding to crimes that have already been committed and doing what they can to identify the perpetrators and get them off the street. Then it is in the hands of the prosecutors, courts and corrections system.
A lot of things that lead to criminal behavior are far beyond the scope of the police to address effectively: poverty, societal norms of behavior, poor parenting, the attraction of gangs, and other factors. The police and city hall are only two voices out of many advocating in these areas, but the real changes in these areas will require more than mere preaching.
If you want crime rates to really go down and to stay down then it will require an attitudinal adjustment by a whole lot of people. In the end crime rates go up because society tolerates the crime level it has. The prevailing feeling is "As long as it is happening to someone else, all I need to do is grumble about it." A broad attitudinal adjustment will result in people doing more than just grumbling about crime. They will realize that no person is completely safe from crime. They will take steps to make sure they don't make themselves easy prey to crime: not walking alone at night, not getting so drunk that they become particularly vulnerable, locking their doors and windows, installing better locks or outdoor lighting, watching out for their neighbors, reporting suspicious activity to the police, becoming more observant of their surroundings and the people near them, not engaging in foolish activities like getting into the van of a complete stranger to look at "purses and clothing" he's selling at 4 a.m.-- the list is endless. Nobody willingly invites criminals to strike, but all too many people facilitate crime by what they do or fail to do.
As long as the number of people who make themselves easy victims is high, there will be plenty of criminals happy to take advantage of their mistakes. The first realistic prevention of higher crime numbers starts with YOU. The police and mayor are down the list in accountability.