CEDAR FALLS — Crime in the city was up 11.9 percent in 2017 over the previous year, a departure from an otherwise downward trend over the past five years, Public Safety Director Jeff Olson said.
“It’s disappointing to see that big of an increase. But you want to look over the years where you’ve been,” Olson said. “The five-year trend is certainly good.” He noted crime was down three of the past five years and the 2017 numbers are still down 4.1 percent compared to five years ago.
Figures released by Olson showed there were 2,288 reportable offenses during 2017, up from 2,045 in 2016 but down from 2,388 in 2012. The numbers do not include crimes reported on the University of Northern Iowa campus, which are compiled separately by the university.
Olson also noted Cedar Falls crime rates hover about 22 percent below the Iowa mean and 34 percent lower than the nation. In violent crimes, the city is 45 percent and 59 percent lower than the state and national means, respectively.
“We are fortunate to live in a city with overall low crime and steady growth. Cedar Falls remains a great city to work, live and do business,” Mayor Jim Brown said.
Major “index” crimes were up more than lesser “category B” offenses, which include several alcohol-related offenses. The number of rape reports nearly doubled, from 14 to 26.
Among points Olson noted:
There was an increase in thefts which includes shoplifting. Assaults were up 19.4 percent, while shoplifting was up 14 percent. A growth in retail centers and loss prevention efforts by some of the those contributed to the apprehension of more shoplifters.
An increase in burglaries can be contributed to one individual who was apprehended and charged with 27 home burglaries in early 2017. A series of crimes committed by one person can contribute to increases in individual categories. Burglaries were up 11.6 percent.
Olson also noted increases can be anticipated as the city grows.
“If you grow, and your population grows and you draw more people to town, you’re going to see some increases,” Olson said.