Cedar Rapids Police release 2020 crime data, violent crime up 15%

Published: Jan. 7, 2021 at 6:44 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -Cedar Rapids Police have released the final crime numbers from 2020. They report a 15% increase in violent crimes including 12 homicides, the most on record. Half of those homicides are still unsolved.

That includes the shooting death of 18-year-old Marisa Doolin just before Christmas. We spoke with her uncle Jeremy Hepker earlier this week.

“What code is it to protect somebody from getting in trouble for what they did to somebody’s daughter, somebody’s son,” he told us.

Those who know something in the unsolved cases and don’t help investigators are part of the problem, according to police.

“We receive not a lot of corporation from some victims who survive these shootings and also witnesses refuse to come forward, refuse to cooperate,” Police Chief Wayne Jerman told us.

He wants people to know they can call in tips anonymously if they’re concerned for their safety. People can call into Linn County Crime Stoppers or into the police department’s main line at (319) 286-5491.

Police did make 3,600 arrests last year for crimes but Jerman says the pandemic lead to a number of issues.

“Offenders were not being brought into court and being held accountable or sent to jail,” he told us.

“When offenders were arrested there was either no or low bail amount set so the offenders were released back into the community,” Jerman added.

He says of the people they arrested, around 1,000 were arrested more than twice. 13 people were arrested between 10-19 times. Two people were arrested more than 30 times.

Another contributing factor to the violence may have been the amount guns stolen from vehicles.

“We have 41 deadly weapons that are now out in the community that certainly could have been prevented,” Jerman told us.

Police did recover three guns with the arrests of an 18 and 19-year-old in November, one of which had been stolen from a truck earlier in the year.

Chief Jerman asks that people don’t leave guns in their cars, it’s one thing he thinks could help cut down on the violence.

Brandon Jackson, the Founder of Dreeam Sports a nonprofit that provides sports programs and mentorship to youth in the area is doing what he can to help improve things in the community when it comes to violence.

“We’re kind of gearing towards having a safe haven for these teens and young adults,” he told us.

“If we can even raise money, grants, things like that to build towards not only having a safe space but also funding the staff that it needs. There’s a lot of great people in this community that are trying to put forth the effort,” Jackson added.

Next month police hope to roll out a system called NIBIN through their partnership with ATF. It’s technology that will compare images of ballistic evidence from shooting scenes. They say it will help with solving gun crimes.

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