Reports of robberies, shots fired down in Cedar Rapids

Police also report slight increase in overall violent crime

Published: January 21 2014 | 10:26 am - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 2:25 am in
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UPDATE: Cedar Rapids police saw a decrease in robberies and shots fired in 2013, two areas targeted by Chief Wayne Jerman last year.

"We did see a lost of postives in the areas where we put forth a concentrated effort," Jerman said Tuesday.

In 2013, Jerman identified reducing gun violence in the city as his top priority. The result was a decrease of both offenses from 2012 to 2013. Reports of robberies decreased from 101 in 2012 to 91 last year, a nearly 10 percent drop off. Reports of shots fired fell by 12.5 percent, from 64 to 56 during that same time frame.

Jerman credited the work of patrol officers, investigators and other department personnel who engaged in a 23 percent increase in self-initiated activity such as traffic stops, foot patrols and pat downs for the decrease in robberies and shots fired. Additionally, 102 firearms that were either possessed illegally or used in a crime were seized.

The patrol officers, with an increase in self-initiated activity, came through with extremely positive results," Jerman said.

Overall, violent crime which also includes aggravated assaults, assaults on officers, murder and sexual assaults increased 7 percent, from 488 offenses in 2012 to 523 last year. Most of that change could be attributed to an increase in aggravated assaults, which went up by 23 percent, from 198 to 244.

Jerman said some of the increase could be attributed to a new category of aggravated domestic assaults added in 2013 and an increase overall in domestic offenses.

"That is a concern for me," Jerman said of the increase. "That is a problem."

And, unlike other offenses, domestic offenses can't necessarily be addressed with beefing up patrols or increasing officer presence in a neighborhood. Instead, Jerman said he hopes to create more awareness about domestic abuse in 2014.

While the decrease in robberies and shots fired is welcome news, Jerman isn't ready to declare mission accomplished and move on to his next priority.

"We're not going to relax," he said. "We're going to continue to focus."

Jerman said plans to launch a gun buyback program in 2014. In 2013, $1,600 in donations - enough to buy back 16 guns - were collected, but Jerman said he has his sights set on buying back 100 guns. To that end, the department is pursuing grants and other opportunities to fund to program. Regardless of how much money is earned, Jerman said he plans to host a gun buy back this spring.

Among other offenses in Cedar Rapids:

  • Arson dropped by 37 percent, from 30 to 19.
  • Auto thefts increased by 20 percent, 231 to 278; but burglaries decreased from 933 to 920.
  • Acts of criminal mischief decreased by 15 percent and thefts from vehicles dropped 24 percent.
  • Possession of a controlled substance increased by 15 percent, from 802 offenses to 924; delivery of a controlled substance dropped from 30 offenses to 18. Police encountered six more meth labs, 28 compared to 22, in 2013.

Overall, police made 9 percent more arrests in 2013, 9,625 compared to 8,835.

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