Cedar Rapids sees sharp increase in shots fired calls in 2012 - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Rapids sees sharp increase in shots fired calls in 2012

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

A startling statistic in Eastern Iowa's largest city -- gun violence in Cedar Rapids is on the rise with a 43% increase in shots fired calls from 2011 to 2012.  There were 63 reports of shots fired last year, up from 44 in 2011.

Cedar Rapids Police Chief Wayne Jerman suspects it's because more people are reporting when they hear gunshots which is something the police department encourages.

The Cedar Rapids shootings in 2012 left 23 people injured and two dead.  Arrests have only been made in a handful of these cases.  The September murder of Latasha Roundtree is one of those unsolved cases.  She was killed on the 600 block of 16th Ave. SW.  Less than two weeks later there was another shots fired call at that location.

Dina McMullin lives in the area and knows it isn't the only block in the city with gun violence.

"You can see it on every side of town these days," said McMullin.  "It doesn't matter where you're at or where you move. Crime is going to be there no matter what if they don't crack down on some things."

That's what Cedar Rapids Police Chief Wayne Jerman is hoping to do.

While his officers work to solve the shooting cases from last year, Jerman is looking at new methods and strategies to prevent the violence from happening in the first place.

"It will involve additional officers and a show and visibility of police presence," said Jerman.

Jerman believes part of the problem is the availability of guns.

"Over the years access to firearms has become easier for everyone to get access to guns," said Jerman. "That's not good."

Investigators are moving these cases along but Chief Jerman says the department needs help from the community.

"We really want victims and witnesses to cooperate as much as they can to provide the investigators with information that could lead to these crimes being solved," said Jerman.

Jerman says Cedar Rapids is a safe city despite the shootings.

So far there have been four cases of shots fired so far in 2013 in Cedar Rapids, including one that left a person injured over the weekend.

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