The downtown area has seen an increased number of burglaries last August compared to other years, particularly on Spring Street and on both sides of Regent Street, according to Madison police and city officials.
Madison Police Department spokesperson Joel DeSpain said there is a burglary spike every August, and this could be attributed to students moving into houses and apartments off-campus who do not lock their doors and windows.
This year, the spike is more pronounced with 58 total reported burglaries in August while the number of burglaries in August 2009, 2010 and 2011 averaged 39, according to MPD Lt. Kristen Roman.
“Most of the time burglars target laptop computers and other electronic items,” DeSpain said. “We advise people to make sure their doors are locked, their windows are secure and if they are not going to be home, not to leave their laptops sitting on a kitchen table.”
As students come back to campus, these burglaries “are not completely uncommon,” according to Ald. Scott Resnick, District 8.
Resnick said although he does not know the explanation for the increase in burglaries this year, city officials, the Associated Students of Madison and the MPD are taking this “very seriously” and working together to reach out to students.
Police are currently experimenting with social media, going on safety walks and knocking on doors in an effort to educate students about preventing burglaries, according to Resnick.
City officials, ASM and the MPD will host a neighborhood walk Monday to talk about risks and areas of improvement in another effort to reach out to students living off-campus.