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WATERLOO — Serious crimes in rural Black Hawk County dropped to a low in 2018, according to numbers released Friday by the sheriff’s office.

Reported index crimes — murder, robbery, rape, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and auto theft — dropped from 173 in 2017 to 135 last year, marking their lowest point in more than 10 years. Robbery, larceny, vehicle theft and aggravated assault all dropped in 2018; rape remained at seven reported incidents in each 2017 and 2018; and there were no murders in either year.

When other lesser offenses — drugs violations, public intoxication calls, bad checks, less-serious assaults and the like — were figured in, the total number of reported crimes was up from 657 in 2017 to 702 last year, according to the Black Hawk County Sheriff’s Office numbers.

Sheriff Tony Thompson noted that drug violations led the increase — from 258 cases to 347 — and those numbers are often driven by an agency’s efforts in investigating that offense.

“With the only substantial increase in criminal acts being our own initiated drug investigations, I will accept a slight uptick in this report due to our agency’s own aggressive stance on curbing drug crime,” Thompson said.

Calls for service handled by sheriff’s deputies were down for a second straight year, from 7,925 in 2017 to 7,668 in 2018.

Bookings at the county jail were down in 2018, but the jail’s average daily population grew from 228 inmates to 249. Jail transports —- moving jail inmates to and from prison or other facilities —- were down for a second straight year, according to the sheriff’s office statistics.

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Police and Courts Reporter

Cops and courts reporter for the Courier

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