A picture from a rally on a sunny summer day. Someone holds a sign that says we can end gun violenceOur Violence Prevention Unit at Public Health works to analyze and address the issue of community violence.

Our public health approach to violence prevention means we:

  • Work with community partners to gather and analyze violence data
  • Use the strengths and expertise of community members and partners to create change

We support the reduction of harm caused by firearms in our community. Read our gun safety position statement which supports strategies to reduce the ease of access to firearms by people who seek to do harm, increase gun safety, support safe storage, and decrease the harm and destructiveness of firearms. 

Read our Summary of Activities, January - December, 2022

On this page:

Madison Dane County Violence Prevention Coalition

This Coalition is a collaboration of community and government partners. We work to put the goals of the Roadmap to Reducing Violence into place. Work groups prioritize and address Roadmap strategies, and coordinate violence prevention efforts.

Coalition Meetings

You’re invited to attend Coalition meetings! The Coalition meets quarterly. See our most recent coalition report.

Recent Meeting

At our March 9 meeting:

  • Mayor Rhodes-Conway announced a call to action for the $420,000 in funding for Community Development Division's Summer Youth Violence Prevention. Since that time, funding has been awarded. You can find additional information on their webpage. 
  • From the self-selected and self-facilitated discussion groups on youth violence prevention and social cohesion, four themes emerged:
    • Youth engagement
    • Adult & family engagement
    • Mental health
    • Youth employment & education

Our next step is to build a Coalition Action Plan on Youth Violence Prevention. 

Past Meetings

Community Alternative Response Emergency Services (CARES) Program

Read our 2022 Annual Report

Watch our Year End Report

This City of Madison program is a collaboration between Madison Fire Department, Journey Mental Health, and Public Health Madison & Dane County. CARES teams are made up of a paramedic and a crisis worker. They respond to non-violent behavioral health emergencies in Madison so medical and behavioral healthcare is integrated into the crisis response. 

CARES operates Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 8:00pm. People who call 911 for behavioral health emergencies are routed to CARES, when possible.

Examples of things they help with include suicidal thoughts, depression, anxiety, confusion, agitation, and intoxication. CARES teams calm situations, identify needs and concerns, and treat those that they can on the spot. When needed, CARES refers and transports patients to other services, such as:

  • Recovery, rehab, or detox services
  • Shelters
  • Outpatient behavioral health services or psychiatric facilities

When CARES responds to situations, instead of police, it helps keep people out of hospitals and jails.

Our Role

We support the CARES program by facilitating meetings, helping with strategic planning, creating communication materials, and evaluating the program's processes and impact. 

Community Safety Intervention Team (CSIT)

This team of people from multiple agencies responds to incidents of violence in the community. We collaborate and share information about incidents of violence to:

  • Develop strategies which could prevent further violence
  • Examine what may be causing the issues in our community

We meet at least weekly to make sure our response to critical incidents serves the immediate needs of those involved, and of the community.

Read our Annual Report

Read our latest Quarterly Report           

Older Quarterly Reports

Isthmus Safety Initiative

We coordinate this federal grant funded program to prevent gun crime and sexual violence in the State Street area of Madison.

Our Action Plan

Our Advisory Council, made up of community members and business owners, led the creation of an action plan. They identified the State Street area as the downtown crime hot spot using:

  • Data from the Madison Police Department
  • Experiences of Advisory Council members, which includes downtown businesses, organizations, and community members
  • Information from a community survey

Based on research on the drivers of crime, best practices for violence prevention, and the above information, the Council: 

  • Chose to address gun crime and sexual violence
  • Identified what is driving gun crime and sexual violence in the State Street area
  • Selected strategies to address drivers of gun crime and sexual violence

What We're Working On

  • Bystander awareness training for bar and restaurant staff in the State Street area.

    • Staff will learn how to notice, identify, and safely intervene in situations of sexual violence and gun violence. Trainings began in January, 2023. Fill out a form if you're interested in this training!
  • Hiring Safety Navigators for the State Street area. People in these positions will not enforce laws or engage in dangerous conflict. Learn more about these positions!
  • Improving safety in the State Street area through additional lighting and replacing security cameras. 

Community Violence Intervention Program

Our staff is trained in outreach and community engagement strategies, including de-escalation techniques. We focus on interrupting violence in our community through:

  • Community engagement. We build connections in communities with high violent crime rates.
  • Outreach and brief interventions. We connect with people being released from custody about their safety and re-entry needs.
  • Support services and community connections. We support people in solving conflicts without firearms, getting help, and follow up on their progress.

Our goals

  • Support people through behavior change, planning for their safety, and connecting them to resources and services.
  • Create community relationships to provide stability and support for people affected by violence.
  • Build community leadership and engagement to prevent future violence and increase safety.

We determine our areas of focus by using:

  • Violent crime data
  • Information from our Community Safety Intervention Team about where violence is happening
  • Assessments of incidents
  • Other identified trends or needs

Other Community Violence Prevention Initiatives

Parks Alive!

Parks Alive! is a series of summer events that bring together people who live in Madison and community and government service providers. The goal is to help build strong neighborhoods, which are important to public safety and are part of our Roadmap to Reducing Violence. Learn more about these events from Madison Parks.