Shots-fired incidents on the rise in Dubuque - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Shots-fired incidents on the rise in Dubuque

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

Despite a national downward trend of violence, reports of shots fired are on the rise in Dubuque.

Dubuque Police say there have been 18 confirmed reports of shots fired this year, just three shy of last year's total of 21.

The last two coming just this week, with one person being shot in the stomach and taken to the hospital. Police say he's expected to survive.

But Lt. Scott Baxter with the Dubuque Police says it's only a matter of time before one of these gets out of hand.

"There's only so much the community can do, there's only so much law enforcement can do," Baxter. "It comes down to these individuals making these incredibly stupid choices, dangerous choices, life-threatening choices, and it's a matter of time before one of them pays the ultimate price for it."

In response, Baxter says they're stepping up patrols in the problem neighborhoods. He says they've done it before and had success.

"Last year when we increased our patrol presence and saturated the areas that we were having problems with, it had a very positive impact and we're hoping for the same thing with this most recent effort," he said.

Baxter added there hasn't been much cooperation from witnesses and even victims.

"You talk about frustrating from a law enforcement perspective -- we're doing everything within our power to protect the community, to bring closure on these cases and to apprehend those responsible," he said. "It's just unfathomable that somebody who's been shot wouldn't cooperate with the police."

Baxter says true change will come when the community starts trusting, not being wary of, their police.

"If people truly want this stuff to end, they're going to have to empower us a little bit more, and trust us a little more and let us do our job and not compromise our officer's safety, and use the force we need to use," he said.

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