MADISON (WKOW) — A shootout off of Cottage Grove Rd. left many in the Elvehjem neighborhood wondering what they need to do to take back the neighborhood.
A Madison Police Department spokesperson said officers responded to the 4500 block of Cottage Grove Road Sunday night and found approximately 36 shell casings, two damaged vehicles and damage to buildings. He says one bullet that went into an apartment missed someone inside by no more than five feet. Authorities say from the evidence collected, it is believed there were two sides shooting at one another.
Kim Richman lives about a mile away from where that shooting took place.
“It woke everybody up,” he said. “People finally said it can happen here because it did.”
Richman said he was already on alert due to a string of break-ins around the area, but the shooting meant the neighborhood was hungry for a change. He proposed a solution close to home.
“Residents have to be kind of the first responders because we’re there,” he said.
To ensure that happens, Richman wants the neighborhood to adopt a program called the Good Neighbor Project, a partnership with the Madison Police Department that encourages locals to get to know and check in on their neighbors.
“You’re looking out for each other,” he said. “You get to know them, you get to know their habits as far as you know their garage door is closed, call them, go over and tell them their garage door is open.”
Richman said he pitched the idea on the neighborhood Facebook page last week, but he said there was little response.
“I got some likes over the week, kind of meh,” he said.
When the circumstances changed over the weekend, Richman said there was a different response.
“Seven requests to become members in, what, 45 minutes,” he said.
Now, he’s hoping that momentum continues as he meets with East District police officers to put the project in motion.
“If perpetrators know there’s something like this going on in the neighborhood, they’re going to have second thoughts,” he said.
Richman plans to model the local Good Neighbor Project off of the Midvale Heights neighborhood. He said he’s spoken to representatives from that community who say they’ve seen local success in crime reduction.