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Police agencies concerned about juvenile crime after stolen car chase

MADISON (WKOW) — Early Thursday morning, a group of teenagers led multiple police agencies on a chase in a stolen car, starting in Fitchburg and ending with a foot chase near the beltline.

It’s a sign of a problem Fitchburg police officers have been facing for the past several years.

“We are routinely encountering the same juveniles who are putting themselves at risk, our officers at risk, they’re putting the community at risk. And obviously they’re victimizing our communities,” Lt. Edward Hartwick, with the Fitchburg Police Department, said.

Near campus, UW Madison Police officers chased after another stolen car.

Officials here say this type of crime is starting to bleed into their area in a way that hasn’t before.

While the car wasn’t stolen on campus, the officers came across it just blocks away from Camp Randall.

They’re used to dealing with other forms of crimes.

“We’re talking about theft issues on our campus that absolutely are a problem that we dealt with,” Marc Lovicott, with the UW Madison Police Department said. “It’s not people from on campus, it’s individuals, and usually young individuals, coming on to our campus and committing these crimes.”

The problem of juvenile crime is one without an easy solution.

“We’re certainly not going to arrest our way out of the situation,” Lt. Hartwick said. “Really, we have to determine what’s best for each individual juvenile, because most of the time, the reasons why they’re engaging in this behavior is very different.”

Both departments say the best way to start curbing juvenile crime, is to not give them the opportunity to commit the acts.

“The easiest steps that can be taken are basic crime prevention measures, locking car doors, removing keys from cars keeping your garage door closed,” Lt. Hartwick said.

Police officials also recommend learning more about the county juvenile justice system and reaching out to groups already working with the youths, and volunteer your time to try and help.

Francisco Almenara

Reporter, WKOW

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