Dubuque Safe Community Task Force Calls it Quits

by Katie Wiedemann, Reporter

DUBUQUE, Iowa - Dubuque's Safe Community Task force is calling it quits. The city first organized the task force of Dubuque residents back in 2009 after a string of violent crime. Members say they've done what they can to improve safety in Dubuque. But not everyone living there agrees.

According to police, the number of crimes against people have ebbed and flowed since that group began making its recommendations of how to curb crime.

TV-9 asked Facebook users whether they think crime rates have improved in Dubuque in the past four years.

Chris said, "I think the task force did make improvements, however there are certain factors that have lead to an increase in crime. These factors are not something a task force can have an effect on."

John asked, "Is this a joke? Because they must live in a different city then I do. The short answer here is "no". It's only going to get worse."

And Melissa said, "No way! I have only been here 6 years and crime has been way worse then it was when I first moved here."

But city leaders say, per the task force's recommendation, they've made some changes directly intended to reduce crime. First they started requiring landlords to run a background check on every person who wants to rent an apartment or home.

Next the city started holding parents accountable for kids who commit crimes.

Dubuque Police Chief Mark Dalsing said, "when we start seeing kids who are repeats in the system, there is a system in place where the parents are notified. "

The city installed 911 kiosks in public places and security cameras in high crime neighborhoods.

Dalsing said, "there are a lot of cameras out there and they've been very beneficial in solving quite a few high profile crimes. "

Despite those efforts and the statistics, Dalsing says some people's perception of crime is skewed by the rumors they read on the Internet.

"You can look on Facebook on any given day and people are saying 'what's going on at this location? I happen to drive by and see a squad car or a fire truck parked.' And it turns out there was a terrorist bombing when actually it was a dog got hit by a car, " said Dalsing.
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