Still among the safest places in America, the Madison area is experiencing a jarring increase in gun violence, with children and young adults most at risk of committing and succumbing to it.
A small but rising number of teens and young adults, often with a history of unaddressed trauma, are turning to guns to settle disputes and retaliate for slights real or imagined.
Unaddressed, trauma can be toxic to a child's developing brain, dramatically increasing the chance of high-risk behaviors like smoking, substance abuse, early sexual activity and violence.
Those who study the root causes of violence nationally and in Wisconsin are turning to a common survey tool to inform public policy.
Madison has never had an entity like the Community Safety Intervention Team, created in response to a jump in gun crimes and an alarming new trend: killings in public places in broad daylight.
"We didn't know this was going to happen. I didn't see our lives being threatened," said the girlfriend of one victim. "It just opened my eyes that someone can be gone so quickly."
Madison police are employing dual strategies in high-crime areas, one positive engagement and the other enforcement.
No one else in Madison is doing the work of the Focused Interruption Coalition, a community and faith-based organization.
Over the course of 25 days, three young men would be killed in the city's first series of retaliatory murders to occur in public places.
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Necessary in many cases, incarceration nevertheless can compound the effect of childhood trauma, make some problems worse and separate families.
The program, reserved for the city's most prolific violent offenders, offers help from service providers or swift and stern punishment if they commit new crimes.
"We do have some happy times, but we do go to a lot of funerals," Dane County Jail teacher Deb Anderson said. "It's a heartbreaking place, but it's a hopeful place."
Their journeys from the trauma of youth, through criminal pasts and prison, to personal transformation make them uniquely positioned to help o…
Mayor Paul Soglin and Dane County Executive Joe Parisi are vowing additional funding in their 2019 budgets to build on recent initiatives.
Madison and Dane County are adopting a public health approach to violence that's based on data, science and the voices of those most affected in the community.
Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Oakland have suffered jumps in gun violence, employing hospital-based and public health initiatives in an attempt to stop it.