Citizens learn crime prevention tips, tools
Crime in Madison has decreased for two consecutive years.
That was good, yet surprising, news that residents heard from Lt. John Stringer, who conducted a crime prevention session at City Hall on June 30.
Surrounding communities have seen a serious spike in crime lately, and thieves entered 25 cars in Madison during a weekend spree.
However, Stringer explained statistics covering January to June in 2010, 2011 and 2012 for residential burglaries, which include garage and house attachments. In 2010, Madison had 117 burglaries, which decreased to 101 in 2011 and yet another drop to 86 in 2012.
Breaking and entering of automobiles accounted for 165 incidents in 2010, 86 in 2011 and 79 this year. “In criminal mischief, which includes vandalism, graffiti, keying cars and practical jokes, in January through June in 2010, we had 47 incidents, 37 in 2011 and 39 in 2012. So, this has been consistent over three years,” Stringer said.
Stringer credited the “Protecting Our Communities” initiative as one factor. Madison officers “park and talk” with individuals in compiling reports. “We get more tips that way. Citizen involvement also reduced the numbers. A small tip can break a major case,” he said.
Throughout the session, Stringer offered common sense tips for crime prevention and using new technology. He recommended Nixle.com, a free online service that quickly posts police department messages to cell phones and email. “You type 35758 for Madison’s zip code or 35801 for Huntsville to receive Nixle messages,” he said.
The audience asked questions about Neighborhood Watch groups, which Stringer strongly supports. “Citizens are a force multiplier,” he said.
“The bad guys are not stupid,” Stringer said. He described a “drug lord” that he helped to arrest as “one of the most charismatic, intelligent and manipulative people” he had ever met.
Stringer is a 17-year veteran in law enforcement. He works as community resource officer and in field training, narcotics investigations and martial arts instruction. “Citizens deserve the best that we can do. It’s part of the Madison police culture,” he said.
To contact Madison Police Department, call 256-722-7190.