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Iowa City Police Chief credits several factors to decrease in shots fired incidents

Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 5:19 PM CST
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - In Iowa City, police say that shots fired calls were down last year to 37.

Chief Dustin Liston says a shots fired incident, or shots fired call, is defined by the evidence. That could be a witness, shell casings or, in some cases, people hit by gunfire.

He says one reason they likely saw that decline has to do with how many guns they were able to take off the streets. In 2020, police seized 67 weapons and in 2021 they seized 133, nearly doubling the number.

Liston also points to the pandemic to the fluctuating numbers.

“We weren’t near as much pro-active patrolling, the community wasn’t out and about as much. Our community events, our neighborhood associations weren’t nearly as active, so I think a lot of those factors played into that,” he told TV-9.

As restrictions got lifted, he said they were able to go out more and interact with the public, but there are still other concerns.

Even though the number of shots fired calls went down, there was still one more homicide in 2021 in Iowa City compared with 2020.

The Police Department says the decline in OVERALL calls is encouraging but the department is still working to bring it down even more.

“As we’ve found out, most of these incidents it’s a small group of people that are responsible for a large majority of these crimes. And once we get some of these people arrested and they get in the system, we notice a reduction in shots fired calls,” said Chief Liston.

Their goal is to get ahead of these types of incidents and prevent them before they happen.

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