SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – The pandemic is being blamed for many things, even the rise in crime in America’s bigger cities.
Sgt. Jeremy McClure, with the Sioux City Police Department, said the department’s approach is heavily rooted in community policing. He said that’s why violent crime here in Sioux City doesn’t compare to what’s happening nationally.
But, some crimes are still on the rise compared to years past.
McClure said the department expected to see an increase in domestic violence as the pandemic continued and people were asked it isolate.
But statistically speaking, there’s only a minor increase with 20 more domestic assaults this year compared to 2019.
Two areas of violent crime have spiked, including assault while participating in a felony and what Iowa labels as terrorism, which in most cases is when someone shoots into an occupied structure.
In 2019, there were 22 assaults while participating in a felony. That number has jumped by 150% this year with a total of 55 so far.
In 2019, there was one act of terrorism incident. In 2020, there’s been 14.
“It’s tough to say exactly why. It could be a copycat thing where somebody saw that this has occurred, and they get the idea in their head to do it also. It could be the same person perpetrating some of these things or it cold be a retaliation thing where it’s a tit for tat,” McClure said.
McClure adds the department has implemented more mental health training and said one of the main goals for the department is to find ways to better assist those struggling with substance abuse or crisis situations.
“Some of the things we’ve looked at in addressing violent crimes such as gun crimes is what partnerships cans we build with other agencies to hold these people accountable and aid our investigation. So we’ve worked with federal agencies such as the ATF to look at other ways to look at some of the gun crimes that have been reported locally and further those investigation to try and connect the dots,” McClure said.
McClure said some thefts and residential burglaries have dipped this year compared to last year.
When it comes to homicide numbers nationally, they’re up drastically in some major cities, but here in Sioux City, there’s been one additional homicide this year with four total homicides investigated.
Mcclure said he attributes some of the crime numbers not increasing to the relationship the department’s built with the community. He adds although these numbers are unofficial, it’s a close estimate.