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Cold Crime Spike? Not the Case

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (CBS2/FOX28) -- Between a double murder-suicide, a homicide, and a stolen baby all in the last two weeks, it might seem like eastern Iowa is seeing a spike in winter crime.

We know the persistent negative temperatures and lack of sunlight can take a toll on our mental health, causing things like seasonal depression, but as it turns out, the cold is not the culprit for this rash of crime, said Cedar Rapids Police Department spokesperson Greg Buelow.

Violent crime in the Corridor is not actually on the rise, he said.

"The facts actually show us that during the winter months, usually the numbers of crimes decreases as compared with the summer," Buelow said.

In Cedar Rapids, the number of robberies in January 2014 is the same as the number in January of 2013. Aggravated assaults, shots fired, and assaults on an officer are all down by two counts in the same time frame, Buelow said.

In Iowa City, there have been only four more robberies this winter as compared with 2013, according to Iowa City Police Department spokesperson Sgt. Vicki Lalla.

This begs the question: is there a time of year when the weather does impact crime? Crime analysts say, when ice cream sales spikes, so does violence.

"Usually when it's hot, humid, very muggy, you see more of a correlation of people getting angry and violent crime, at least in Cedar Rapids and really throughout the whole country," Buelow said.

That makes sense to Cedar Rapidians like Iris Strong, who thinks people can be better, no matter which one of the five seasons surrounds them.

"I love Cedar Rapids, but I come from Chicago," Strong said. "You're either going to make the choice to do right or you're going to make the choice to do wrong. You can't blame, you just (have) to take ownership."

Police are still looking for a suspect in the death of Clifton Sparks, 31, found last Tuesday on B Avenue NE. Anyone with information is asked to call Linn County Crimestoppers.
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