In 2017, Madison reported 64 percent more incidents of shots fired than the year before, according to the Madison Police Department.
People on the north side raised concerns to Dane County Supervisor Michele Ritt, who asked Madison police to hold an informational meeting, along with Alders Rebecca Kemble and Larry Palm. On Friday night, there was standing room only in the community room at the Goodwill store in the Northside Town Center.
"Because of the frequency and where these things are happening, people are understandably fearful, and they want to, kind of, know what's going on," said David Dexheimer, the Madison Police Department's neighborhood resource officer for the North District.
"We're here to offer the statistics and how we investigate these things, and where we are with investigations, and some strategies that people can employ to try and help reduce that," Dexheimer said.
Dorothy Borchardt and her husband live on the north side. She said they frequently hear shots fired now, but they didn't before.
"What scares me so much is some time, some kid is gonna get shot in their house, and then what do we do?" Borchardt said.
Data from the police department shows 47 people in Madison were hit by gunfire in 2017, and the department received 220 calls of shots fired.
Of the 220 incidents, 64 were in the north, which had more incidents than any other district. The west had 53 incidents, the east had 52, the south had 32 and the Central District had 19.
"There's no doubt in our minds that shots fired, weapons offenses are on the increase, as proven by the numbers we saw last year," Dexheimer said.
He encouraged anyone who sees or hears anything suspicious in their neighborhood to call 911.
"One of the strong messages we want to get across tonight is to call in those things that they think might be shots fired," Dexheimer said. "If it turns out to be something else, we'll figure that out, but we'd rather get that information and sort it out later."