City wants to combat State St. crime but solution up in the air

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MADISON (WKOW) — The City of Madison wants to end crime near the Capitol on the top of State Street, but the absolute fix is still unknown.

It’s a spot that draws people near and far.

“This is a place for people from out of town to come,” said Ellen Lund, an employee at Ian’s Pizza on State Street.

“This is kind of like a hot-spot unfortunately to deal drugs or drink,” she explained. “It’s unfortunate but it’s true.”

It’s a challenge the city has faced for years. In August of 2015, city crews removed Philosopher’s Stones, sculptures that were built by a local artist, after city leaders said they were prone for loiters.

“Do we see it as the end of this situation? Probably not,” said Captain Carl Gloede with the Madison Police Department in an interview with 27 News in 2015. “Hopefully, it’s the start of change.”

Fast forward a few years and alders don’t believe much has changed.

On Tuesday, City Council voted to pass a resolution that asked for proposals for businesses or non-profits to create programs around the crime-ridden area. The council says the bid cannot require any public money and must run on its own.

“There’s not real treatment of the root of the problem,” said Lund. “It’s just kind of trying to displace it out of the public eye.”

Madison Police have posted a sign with a list of resources in the area, in case those who gather around the intersection need to take advantage of them. But Lund insists, it’s not only transients who are causing all the crime.

“Some of the people who are causing the problems are not homeless. They just come here because they know it’s the place,” she explained.

It’s the place where too many drugs are being sold and fights being fought, according to local businesses and elected officials.

“We need to acknowledge the problem and not just try to brush it under the rug,” said Lund.

27 News reached out to the alders who sponsored the resolution. One was not available to speak on the story and the other two have not returned our calls.

Hunter Sáenz

Hunter Sáenz

Reporter, WKOW

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