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Dean of students, police urge vigilance after downtown robberies

October 1, 2009

In the wake of several robberies in the Madison community, the University of Wisconsin Police Department (UWPD), the Offices of the Dean of Students and Madison Police Department (MPD) are again reminding students to watch out for one another, especially at night.

In general, MPD has been investigating opportunistic robberies or muggings occurring in the city of Madison. These crimes have generally taken place at night and have involved both people and businesses.

Several of the victims have included UW–Madison students. Descriptions of suspects in these incidents have varied widely.

Overall, Madison is a safe community but is experiencing crime common to cities of its size. Today (Oct. 1), UW–Madison released its 2009 Annual Safety Report, with crime statistics and resources for the entire campus community. To view it, along with other safety resources and information, visit

Safety is a shared partnership among students, faculty and staff, the city and the police, says Dean of Students Lori Berquam. Everyone can play a role. Students, in particular, can make themselves less vulnerable to crimes of this nature by taking simple steps.

“Personal safety isn’t something to only think about at nighttime or after leaving the library, but to make a part of your life all of the time,” she adds. “I’m asking students to be especially aware to these issues as you are out and about this fall.”

Berquam and police advise the following:

— Always walk with a group of friends, especially at night. Both men and women have been victims of recent robberies, which have been unprovoked and without a pattern.

— Watch out for your friends and neighbors, and take care of one another. Make sure everyone gets home safely.

— If you intend to drink, do so in moderation so as not to put yourself in a position of increased risk.

— Use your “radar” or common sense as your first defense. Your cell phone or iPod may lessen your ability to recognize or react to a dangerous situation.

— Dial 911 for help or to report a crime. Please call immediately, even if you have been drinking.

— Make use of SAFE Nighttime Services, 262-5000.

— Lock your doors and windows, even if you’re home.

— Don’t leave valuables out in plain sight.

— Don’t let anyone you don’t know into your residence hall.