Despite Fights, Cedar Rapids Police Say No Rise in Violence

By Forrest Saunders, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - As the weather gets warmer more people are heading downtown in Cedar Rapids. In less than a week, police have had to deal with two serious fights outside downtown bars, but officials said violence is not on the rise.

The first fight happened at The Vault early Sunday morning, which police said involved about 100 people.

The second was at Red's Public House Thursday morning, in which 32-year-old Justin Carey suffered a critical head wound. Police are still trying to find out what happened. "The cause for the physical altercation is still under investigation," said Police Chief Wayne Jerman.

Despite the late night fights, Jerman doesn't think violence is on the rise downtown. He said streets are as safe as ever and that incidents like these can happen in the summer when more people head out for fun.

"Whenever you have a large concentration of people who are frequenting these bars and restaurants, you are going to have some incidents. But I do not believe, yet, that there is any cause for concern," said Jerman.

Jerman said you can find the highest number of police on duty in the evening hours. And that as a standard, officers patrol bars around closing time to stop problems before they start.

Still, we wanted to know what you think. Is downtown Cedar Rapids getting too violent?

"I don't think so, compared to other communities," said Rachel Langholz, from Cedar Rapids.

"It feels pretty safe. I know sometimes the crowd, there's some kind of people that seem like they just get into trouble, but I haven't really seen anything," said Leann Hopkins, from Cedar Rapids.

"I always thought Cedar Rapids was pretty safe and a good place to come visit," said Paul Woods, who was visiting from the Cedar Falls/Waterloo area.

Those two fights happened on the night of two big events in Cedar Rapids, the Lady Antebellum concert and standup comedy from Daniel Tosh. Officials don't think they played a factor in any of the violence.
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