Brown Deer - Concerned about recent stalking incidents and several carjackings, Fox 6 is planning to erect a fence around its studio at 9001 N. Green Bay Road.
Brown Deer police have investigated several complaints of stalking and unauthorized personnel at the television news station, so Police Chief Michael Kass believes the station's safety concerns are warranted.
But suspicious behavior toward journalists is not limited to Fox 6. In a written statement requesting permission to build the fence, Fox 6 President Chuck Steinmetz pointed out that physical attacks on the media have been on the rise across the country.
"The public in general is far more divided and hostile about their beliefs than in the past," Steinmetz wrote. "At WITI-Fox 6, we are in the business of informing the public on all sides of these issues, which by definition makes us a target for those who only want to hear what they believe."
Steinmetz' safety concerns were also driven by an overall increase in crime , including five attempted or successful carjackings near the station in the past year.
Another contributing factor is the station's high-profile location, with frontage on Green Bay Avenue just north of the Brown Deer Road interchange. The Brown Deer Marketplace shopping center is on the other side of Green Bay Avenue, and a gas station with a large convenience store and fast-food restaurant will soon be built on the other side of Deerwood Drive.
Employees at Fox 6 also work at odd hours of the day, broadcasting as early as 4:30 a.m. and as late as 11 p.m. The station also has an outdoor weather deck and garden that attracts attention during off hours.
Fox 6 received the Brown Deer Plan Commission's permission to build the fence in October, and Steinmetz estimates it will be built by mid-December.
Fox 6 needed special permission to build the fence because fences are typically prohibited in front yards. With frontage on Deerwood Drive and Green Bay Road, Fox 6 essentially has two front yards that will be fenced in. The 7-foot tall black wrought-iron-looking fence would wrap around the perimeter, but would not block the view of the building from the west. The parking lot will be restricted to authorized personnel.
Other television stations, such as WTMJ-TV (Channel 4) and WISN-TV (Channel 12) also have fenced-in parking lots.