Our Violence Prevention Unit at Public Health works to analyze and address the issue of community violence.

Our public health approach to violence prevention means we:

  • Work with community partners to gather and analyze violence data
  • Use the strengths and expertise of community members and partners to create change

We work with community partners on the following initiatives.

Madison Dane County Violence Prevention Coalition

This Coalition is a collaboration of community and government partners. We work to put the goals of the Roadmap to Reducing Violence into place.Person talking to group Work groups prioritize and address Roadmap strategies, and coordinate violence prevention efforts.

Coalition Meetings

You’re invited to attend Coalition meetings! The Coalition meets quarterly.

Next Meeting

December 8, 2022

  • At this meeting we will highlight the work of the Coalition, efforts to strengthen the Coalition, and have a discussion about priorities for 2023.

  • Register to attend
Past Meetings

Coalition Reports

Quarter 2 (July 2022)

Community Alternative Response Emergency Services (CARES) Program

This City of Madison program is a collaboration between Madison Fire Department, Journey Mental Health, and Public Health Madison & Dane County. CARES teams are made up of a paramedic and a crisis worker. They respond to non-violent behavioral health emergencies in Madison so medical and behavioral healthcare is integrated into the crisis response. 

CARES operates Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 8:00pm. People who call 911 for behavioral health emergencies are routed to CARES, when possible.

Examples of things they help with include suicidal thoughts, depression, anxiety, confusion, agitation, and intoxication. CARES teams calm situations, identify needs and concerns, and treat those that they can on the spot. When needed, CARES refers and transports patients to other services, such as:

  • Recovery, rehab, or detox services
  • Shelters
  • Outpatient behavioral health services or psychiatric facilities

When CARES responds to situations, instead of police, it helps keep people out of hospitals and jails.

Our Role

We support the CARES program by facilitating meetings, helping with strategic planning, creating communication materials, and evaluating the program's processes and impact. 

Read the 2022 Annual Report

Community Safety Intervention Team (CSIT)

This team of people from multiple agencies responds to incidents of violence in the community. We collaborate and share information about incidents of violence to:

  • Develop strategies which could prevent further violence
  • Examine what may be causing the issues in our community

We meet at least weekly to make sure our response to critical incidents serves the immediate needs of those involved, and of the community.

Read our Quarterly Reports           


Isthmus Safety Initiative

We coordinate this grant funded program to prevent crime and sexual violence in the State Street area of Madison.

A group effort to reduce violence

Grounded in our public health approach to violence, we follow a model to make sure efforts to reduce crime last. Our work involves the criminal justice system, service agencies, and community members.

Work involves four key strategies

  • Targeting violence where it happens and using strategies specific to the neighborhood to increase the impact of reducing violence
  • Increasing community involvement to create change that lasts
  • Using data and research to guide our strategy
  • Building trust between the community and our program partners, especially between the community and police

Our action plan

Led by our Advisory Council, we created an action plan. We identified the State Street area as the downtown crime hot spot using:

  • Data from the Madison Police Department
  • Experiences of Advisory Council members, which includes downtown businesses, organizations, and community members
  • Information from a community survey

In our action plan, we:

  • Chose to address gun crime and sexual violence
  • Identified what is driving gun crime and sexual violence in the State Street area

Action plan strategies

  • Bystander awareness training for bar and restaurant staff in the State Street area
  • Increased lighting in the Buckeye parking lot near State Street to improve safety
  • Safety ambassadors in the State Street area. Safety ambassadors will not enforce laws or engage in dangerous conflict. They will provide:
    • A deterrent for negative behavior and activities
    • Information on community resources
    • Help for those who need it

Other Community Violence Prevention Initiatives

Parks Alive!

Parks Alive! is a series of summer events that bring together people who live in Madison and community and government service providers. The goal is to help build strong neighborhoods, which are important to public safety and are part of our Roadmap to Reducing Violence. Learn more about these events from Madison Parks.