2019 crime report for Cedar Rapids shows overall decrease, but some increases

Photo courtesy MGN.
Photo courtesy MGN.(KKTV)
Published: Jan. 7, 2020 at 8:12 PM CST
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Law enforcement officials in Cedar Rapids released an annual summary of crime reports for 2019, featuring mixed results for crime rates as compared to a recent average.

The report separated crime statistics into different categories, such as violent crime or property crime. Across all categories that police tracked in 2019, there were 549 fewer incidents, or a 3.6 percent decrease in total crime reports. This only included crimes that included enough data for a proper analysis.

Some offenses were tracked in different ways during the five-year historical period, according to police. Statistics are preliminary based on the completion of cases or investigations, which could result in revisions in the future. A total number of incidents does not necessarily equate to a total number of victims, as one incident could have multiple victims.

"Overall, the continued multiple year downward trend in violent crime is encouraging. And, the double-digit decrease in property crime in 2019 compared to the 5-year average is a positive trend. The Police Department will continue partnerships with other local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, as well as community organizations, committed to reducing crime and improving safety in our neighborhoods," the Cedar Rapids Police Department said, in a statement.

Violent crime

Overall, violent crime was higher in 2019 as compared to the five-year average by 9 incidents, or a 2.49 percent increase.

The entire increase can be accounted for by aggravated assaults, the only category within violent crime to see a higher rate of incidents. Within that category, domestic abuse saw 18 more reports in 2019 than the average from the past five years, for a total of 93 incidents. Armed aggravated assault had 21 more reports in 2019 than the five-year average, with a total of 103 incidents.

Murder was equal to its five-year average of 6 incidents, with seven total victims, in 2019. Sexual assaults were down by 3, and robberies were down by 26 incidents.

Property crime

Major property crimes were down compared to average in 2019, with 528 fewer incidents, or a 10.32 percent decrease.

Cedar Rapids Police heralded a lower rate of theft from vehicles, which saw 107 fewer incidents in 2019 compared to the five-year average. That particular category had been a point of emphasis for the department, according to officials.

Theft of motor vehicles, however, saw significantly higher rates in 2019, with 66 more incidents or 426 total. According to an analysis of the individual reports by police, officials estimated around 47.6 percent of those thefts took place of vehicles that were either unlocked, left running, or had keys in the vehicle’s console.

Arsons occurred at a lower rate in 2019, with three fewer incidents than the five-year average. Burglaries also were less common, with 79 fewer incidents for a total of 878.

Other crimes against persons

This category, which covers a variety of other offenses of varying degrees but not considered violent crimes under the Federal Bureau of Investigation reporting definitions, saw 83 more incidents in 2019 compared to the five-year average, or a 4.71 percent increase.

There were six more incidents than average of false imprisonment for a total of 13. Kidnapping, a more significant offense, was flat at two incidents.

The rate of sexual abuse against adults was 45 percent lower than the recent average in 2019, or 18 fewer incidents. Sexual abuse against children was also down, but by 13.95 percent.

Crimes classified as simple assaults saw an overall modest increase in occurrence compared to the five-year average, up 30 total incidents or 2.56 percent. The biggest contributor to that category was the actual charge of simple assault, which saw a 6.87 percent higher rate of occurrence in 2019.

Harassment, stalking, and violation of no-contact orders were up 77 total incidents compared to average.

Other crimes against property

This category of property crimes that mostly deals with money-related crimes saw 234 more incidents in 2019 compared to average, or an increase of 10.25 percent.

Crimes like Fraud, criminal mischief, and trespassing saw the most significant increases. Counterfeiting and bad check incidents saw significant decreases.

Crimes against community peace

Incidents in this category were nearly flat, down 15 total compared to average, or a 1.66 percent decrease. This was largely driven by a decrease in disorderly conduct charges and so-called status crimes, which include curfew violations and alcohol possession under the legal age.

Fireworks violations saw 22 more incidents, compared to a five-year average of 5. That is a 440 percent increase. Fireworks became legal in some cases in Iowa in 2017.

Drug and alcohol-related crimes

Across the board, charges in these two categories saw declines compared to average. Drug crimes were down 200 incidents, or 13.01 percent, compared to the five-year average. Alcohol-related crimes, including OWI, having alcohol in public, and open container violations, saw 346 fewer incidents, or a 23.19 percent decrease.

The smallest decrease under this banner was for possession of a controlled substance charges, which only saw three fewer incidents in 2019 than the five-year average.

Weapons crimes

Incidents involving weapons crimes saw a significant increase, though the overall total remained relatively small compared to other categories. Police recorded 34 more incidents in 2019 compared to the five-year average, or an 8.88 percent decrease. A total of 156 incidents occurred.

The city recorded several more charges of illegal possession of a firearm as a felon, up to 16 versus the five-year average of 7.

A broad, catch-all category called “other crimes” saw an 8.88 percent increase in 2019 compared to the five-year average.

The full report from the Cedar Rapids Police Department is available