WATERLOO — Overall crime in Waterloo stayed relatively stable in 2018, dropping about 2 percent from the year before, according to numbers released by the city’s police department on Thursday.
Even so, the city saw six homicide cases with seven deaths, toward the upper threshold for the past decade. Arrests have been made in half of the 2018 homicide cases.
“There was a slight increase in the more serious offenses. This was driven by fraudulent activity, such as credit card fraud, and acts of violence among gang members,” Police Chief Daniel Trelka said.
“The increase was offset by a significant drop in less serious crimes such as nonviolent family offenses and public intoxication. These latest statistics show that Waterloo’s overall crime rate continues to trend down,” Trelka said.
Calls for service handled by police were down almost 5 percent, from 52,762 in 2017 to 50,203 in 2018.
According to the numbers, Group A offenses — about 30 serious crimes — were up 3 percent over the prior year, while Group B offenses — disorderly conduct, trespassing and other minor crimes — decreased 7.6 percent.
Combined Group A and B offense saw a 1.79 percent drop, according to the police department.
Total index crimes — murder, robbery, rape, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and auto theft — were slightly up in 2018, from 1,920 reported in 2017 to 1,927 last year.
Of the index crimes, aggravated assault showed the largest increase, up 26 percent from 188 in 2017 to 237 in 2018. It was still down compared the recent high in 2013 when 473 incidents were reported.
Murder remained steady, with six homicide cases being reported in both 2017 and 2018. Seven people lost their lives to crime in 2018, although two died in a single incident, so the city numbers show six homicide cases for the year.
The body of Lakisha Owens, 40, was found in a cemetery Jan. 26 a few days after she disappeared. Records indicate she died of asphyxiation. No arrests have been made in her death.
Ashley Smith, 32, and her 9-year-old son, Jaykwon Sallis, died in a fire at their home April 22. Denise O’Brien, who had a dispute with others in the house, was arrested for first-degree murder for allegedly setting fire to the house.
Greg Walker Jr., 33, was shot and killed in a friend’s home May 19. His slaying remains unsolved.
Shavondes Martin, 22, who had been acquitted in a 2016 slaying, was found shot to death in an alley May 31. His cousin, Danaesha Martin, has been arrested for murder and is awaiting trial. Shavondes Martin’s mother, 48-year-old Diane Martin, was killed when someone shot up her home Sept. 10. No arrests have been made in her death.
On June 13, 72-year-old Johannes Rodenburgh was beaten at the apartment complex where he worked, and he died days later. Police arrested Martavis Tayshon Wise for second-degree murder.