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Cedar Rapids Makes Dent in Some Gun Crime Stats

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Cedar Rapids Police say there was a decrease in the number of shots fired cases in 2013 compared to 2012. And the president of one neighborhood association says it is a difference that residents have started to notice.

Cedar Rapids Chief Wayne Jerman said the department put a priority on reducing criminal cases involving gun violence. That resulted in both a reduction in the shots fired cases as well as robbery. Reports of shots fired fell from 64 to 56 from 2012 to 2013. That's a decreased of 12.5 percent. Robbery cases decreased in 2013 to 91. The year before, Cedar Rapids Police had worked 101 robberies. That's a decrease of 9.9 percent.

When Chief Jerman accepted the Cedar Rapids job in in the fall of 2012, the shots fired calls had become a more noticeable enforcement issue. That's why the chief included it as an enforcement priority in 2013. He said police worked more closely with neighborhood groups to identify problem areas and problem people. But individual officers also made more traffic stops and patted down more suspected law breakers during personal contacts. The chief said that made a substantial difference.

"By the actions of the officers, self-initiated activity, the fact [that] they removed 102 firearms off the streets of Cedar Rapids makes me very pleased," Chief Jerman said.

Justin Wasson, president of the Wellington Heights Neighborhood Association, said he applauded the chief's crime reduction goals for 2012. Wasson said he believes residents in his neighborhood, and all the neighborhoods, can see the impact of the changes.

"I think a lot of the officers are being more proactive and you're definitely seeing a difference," Wasson said.

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