The Madison Police Department has finalized its uniform crime report statistics for 2019, and the results show that the largest increase in crime for the second consecutive year was in domestic violence cases.
“Domestic violence, in the assault category, had the largest increase for the year,” said Police Chief Gene Waldrop, with a total of 42 arrests made for domestic violence simple assault cases and three domestic violence aggravated assault, in which a weapon was used.
This is an increase from the 40 cases reported in 2018. There were 26 arrests made for domestic violence in 2017.
Cpt. Kevin Newman said it is difficult to pinpoint the underlying cause of this upward trend in domestic violence arrests in the city of Madison, but he said the continuing growth in population could be a factor.
“Population has something to do with it,” Newman said. “More individuals in the city, more of those types of cases could occur.” Chief Waldrop also commented on continued growth in the city in a statement released with the 2019 uniform crime report.
To prepare for responding to domestic violence calls, Newman said the Madison Police Department works with the Center for Violence Prevention.
Last week, 11 Madison officers attended a full day of training with the organization where they received training in response, what to look for, assistance for victims and more.
While there were 45 arrests for domestic violence last year, Newman said the majority of the calls they receive are for domestic disputes in which an arrest was not made.
“Usually, in the case of a domestic disturbance, we can deescalate that,” he said.
In order for an arrest to be made, the victim has to press charges or there must be evidence of assault when the police arrive.
“You have to have a victim who wants to press charges,” Newman said. “You see a lot of times that someone will call the police out to separate those involved, and the victim will decide not to press charges.”
When officers arrive on the scene, they will first assess the situation. According to Newman, since both parties may have marks, they must then determine who the primary aggressor was.
“The responding officer will base the decision on whether to arrest on that information,” he said.
If there is evidence of assault, such as a witness, a video or bruising and marks, they will make an arrest regardless if the victim decides not to press charges.
Each time an arrest is made, Newman said victims are given a victim’s rights packet, which details information for organizations that are there to assist them.
There was an overall total of 378 type one crimes reported in 2019, which is an increase of 46 from 2018, according to the Madison uniform crime report.
While domestic violence cases have shown to have the largest increase from year to year, larcenies, to include shoplifting, continue to be the leading category.
There were 10 grand larceny, 102 petit larceny and 139 shoplifting arrests in 2019. This is an increase of 19 from the previous year.
“We remind our citizens to close carports when not in use, remove valuables from their vehicles and secure them at all times,” Waldrop said.
The uniform crime report is voluntarily furnished to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) on a national basis concerning what is classified as the major crime categories, or type one crimes, which have been reported to the Madison Police Department.
According to Waldrop, the report is considered a measuring tool for gauging manpower and equipment resource deployment, crime prevention techniques and methods and crime detection and suppression tactics.