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DUBUQUE - Two murders in the past month is pushing a crime fighting task force to the forefront in Dubuque. Especially considering before last month, there hadn't been a murder in Dubuque in 2 years.
Then, David Tate was stabbed to death on August 15th in a Dubuque neighborhood. Michael Mayton is awaiting trial for his murder. A few weeks later, a series of stabbings led to the murder of Jamaris West on September 8th. No one's charged with his murder yet.
The city wants people living in those neighborhoods to help stop the violence. Doug Stillings has called downtown Dubuque home for more than 20 years. He says the downtown area is safe. Stillings said, "I live here, I work here. I walk around at night and I'm up at four a.m. riding my bike."
But he admits, lately this area has had more violent crimes, like two recent murders. That's why he agreed to take part in a task force to find solutions.
Stillings said, "I know there is a lot of conversation around town. I know there is some fear and apprehension and a lot of mis-information."
The city council invited Stillings and about 60 other people to join a crime prevention task force, an effort that's not new to Dubuque.
Mayor Roy Buol said, "A thing I know that has been very successful in the past and we can't ever get enough of is the actual citizen involvement and information sharing."
Mayor Buol says fighting crime is the city's top issue right now. And this task force will do everything possible to promote safety. Buol said, "If you are not here to help the community and better your life then we're going to make sure you know we've got an eye on you and we are going to deal with it."
For Stillings it's all about open and honest communication. That's part of his plan to keep his neighborhood safe. The new task force will hold its first meeting on Thursday at seven p.m. at the Grand River Center. The public is welcome to listen in on that meeting.