Innovations in Community Based Crime Reduction

BCJI in Action


Target Area: The Raymond Road Corridor in Southwest Madison • Population: 243,400 (city)
Fiscal Agent: Madison Police Department
Research Partner: Jeffrey Lewis, PhD of the University of Wisconsin
Crime Concerns: Gang-related violence and violent crimes
CBCR Funding Year: 2015 Planning | 2017 Implementation

Neighborhood Profile

Affordable but blighted, the Raymond Road Corridor provides housing of last resort for large, low-income families in Madison.  Over the past few decades, the target area saw a dramatic change in demographics, becoming starkly divided economically and demographically.  In addition, since the mid-1990s, crime within the Raymond Road Corridor has grown and during the last five years, stabilized at a high and disproportionate rate.  A majority of crimes occur in hot spots corresponding to a set of rental enclaves.  For example, crime incidents in the Russett Road area increased steadily from 163 in 2008 to 311 in 2014, a 29 percent increase.  During the same period, crime in the Hammersley area rose from 58 to 88 incidents, a 34 percent increase.  Many residents hesitate to work closely with law enforcement for fear of retaliation.  This has prompted the Madison Police Department to undertake a number of procedural justice activities to build trust and increase legitimacy.

Planning Process

With its CBCR planning grant, the taskforce developed emerging neighborhood leaders to (1) build social cohesion and collective efficacy within the community; (2) build trust and collaborative problem-solving among MPD officers, residents and community organizations (3) create a durable framework of residents and community organizations to support grassroots leadership and sustain momentum; (4) and identify action projects to meet a community goal using available and leveraged resources to achieve positive improvements.

The taskforce established a 15-member Cross-Sector Partnership Advisory Team, which met monthly with the Cross-Sector Management Team for qualitative and quantitative analysis of neighborhood assets and challenges. The Team developed a range of options for the early action projects and solicited community feedback, including 12 focus groups, as well as community meals and other events. This process identified community problems: unsupervised middle and high school youth, a lack of afterschool activities, lack of support for single, working parents, and a lack of positive role models and mentors for youth and adults.

Analysis of the 2013-2015 Incident Based Reporting data confirms that police incidents occurred at a significantly higher rate within three hotspots in the area: Park Edge/Park Place/Waterleaf, Theresa Terrace, and Raymond Road. While crimes against property (theft/burglary) were more evenly distributed across the study area, crimes against persons/society were largely confined to these hotspots, and disorderly conduct, trespass, theft, damage to property, and battery accounted for between 60 percent to 70 percent of the major offenses in the hotspots.

Procedural justice is a core value of the Madison Police Department which is prominent in CBCR planning discussions.

Implementation Strategies

In fall 2017, the Madison project was awarded a CBCR implementation only grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance. Under the program title “Our Neighborhood, A Safe and Beautiful Place,” the taskforce will work in three program pillars to reduce the social conditions and tensions that contribute to crime:

Safe Passages: The taskforce will establish a “Safe Passages” program during the hours just after school. MPD, in partnership with other service agencies, will train committed adults in observation, effective presence and communication, and de-escalation. The program will build on an existing small grassroots project, Parents on Premises (POP), where a team of adults provide snacks, help redirect behavior and provide role models for children.

Mentoring and Youth Activities: To expand activities for youth through positive youth development and community engagement, the taskforce will work closely with youth, local community centers, and other stakeholders to assess needs and existing resources and develop priorities.

Parenting: The taskforce will work with partners to offer programs that improve parenting skill and efficacy and that support positive youth behaviors and outcomes to support struggling parents. One option is Raising a Thinking Child (RTC), which has been shown to help parents and children learn how to solve problems and resolve conflicts.

The taskforce will also recruit and engage more residents into the planning process, work with landlords, community centers and others to uphold neighborhood standards, and (through action projects) sponsor social, recreational and cultural events to promote neighborliness and undertake community improvement projects. Likely action projects include block parties, cleanup days, Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design or short-term neighborhood-employment opportunities.

Other Key Partners

Common Wealth Development, Joining Forces for Families, the Madison School District, faith institutions, and other nonprofit and public agencies


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