NAMI Linn County Board Member/CR Police Chief Jerman: on the news
Cedar Rapids Police Department is seeing an increase in violent crime and shots fired according to new data. Police Chief Wayne Jerman says the increase in shots fired and violent crime is mirrored across America. He says on of the main reasons for this increase is the pandemic. “The increase in stress level within the city for residents, the unemployment rate, people have lost their jobs and again it’s a level of uncertainty,” listed Chief Jerman.
This level of stress reflects the crime statistics. “We’ve seen again a very marked increase in shots fired,” added Chief Jerman. It’s important to note, shots fired includes incidents in which a person was injured, property was damaged, shell casings were found, surveillance video evidence or multiple witnesses corroborate. The numbers do not include suicides or accidental discharges. There have been 156 shots fired in Cedar Rapids so far this year, with one month to go. A sharp increase compared to last year’s total of 99 shots fired. “We believe that there’s a correlation to some groups or hybrid gang activity is fueling a majority of the increase,” said Chief Jerman.
The crime isn’t happening in just one area. “We’ve seen acts occur all over the city. All four quadrants are experiencing an increase in shots fired and acts of violence,” explained Chief Jerman.
Violent crime is up about 17% compared to the past five year average. Another alarming number is the increase in firearms taken from vehicles. “We again are in double digits of the thefts of firearms that are left in cars, that are left in unlocked cars,” said Chief Jerman. CRPD says a total of 39 guns have been stolen from cars, 37 handguns and two shotguns. “Once that firearm is stolen from a vehicle. Who knows whose hands it ends up in,” said Chief Jerman. “But the fact that you have a deadly weapon in the hands of someone we have seen that is not hesitant to use it, is very troubling and worrisome for us.”
Despite the increase, Chief Jerman wants to reassure residents they are taking all necessary actions to keep Cedar Rapids safe. “With 133,000 residents in the city there is going to be crime but again I know it’s our job, and our job is to lessen the fear of crime and perception of crime,” shared Chief Jerman. Cedar Rapids has declined in drug and alcohol related crimes. Chief Jerman says the pandemic is playing a direct role with the decline in alcohol-related crimes with shortened bars and restaurants hours.