Connects Against Crime

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Connects Against Crime: Perception vs. Reality

Updated: Friday, August 30 2013, 12:03 AM CDT
CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- In Wellington Heights, the perception hasn't always been positive.

All gang related stuff, just a bad neighborhood, resident Travis Bennett said.

However, through increased patrols and community awareness there appears to be progress.

Lot of improvements, lot of people are engaged, lot of people working to make the neighborhood a better place to live, said Justin Wasson with the Wellington Heights Neighborhood Association.

Numbers show burglaries and drug possession arrests are down. Bennett doesn't need statistics to see the change; he just needs to walk to the park.

People coming out here with their kids, it must mean something's getting better, Bennett said.
From where she sits on her porch in the Taylor Neighborhood across the river, Donna Boggs Varner says its seems the negative perception, and crime, is now at her doorstep.

The neighborhood has become more drama, crime going on, people busting out windows and things, Varner said.

The perception is enhanced by TV cameras catching chaotic scenes just three weeks ago on the Taylor Elementary Playground. Kathy Potts with the Taylor Neighborhood Association says increased police presence since then is helping

There hasn't been as many complaints from neighbors, so things are looking better, Potts said. There's not anything going on now, the problems are gone.

But are they really?

We have seen slight increases in certain cases, not too alarming, police chief Wayne Jerman said.

Jerman says crime in the city spikes and dips. His people in the street are in the middle between what neighborhood residents perceive and what officers actually deal with.

As for the perceived shift in crime from one area to another, Jerman wants residents to be proactive.

We'd like neighborhoods that are seeing increases to become more vigilant.Connects Against Crime: Perception vs. Reality

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