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CRPD Making Progress on Violent Crimes

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- 2014 got off to a violent start in the City of Five Seasons. However, the Cedar Rapids Police Department says with some new and improved strategies in place, things have calmed down significantly.

The Police Department has seen a marked decrease in the incidents of gun violence in the area that has been targeted, says Chief Wayne Jerman.

Jerman says improved strategies are making an impact - the key to that being an increased visibility of officers, including special designated units.

[They were] solely responsible for a 3 to 5 block area, Jerman says. They were not to leave that area except for emergencies.

The Chief says the city has made strides outside of the issue of gun violence as well.

Through the end of May of this year, even though homicides are up over last year, violent crimes overall are actually down double digits including sex offenses and statutory rapes.

Jerman says what has really helped the department is increased cooperation with the public.

We have been seeing more information and the citizens are more forthcoming.

That concept of communication has been vital for CRPD, as well as for certain neighborhoods in the city. In the Mound View neighborhood, residents are given visual reminders to call police, with signs on every block. There, communication is a way of life.

We're being better neighbors, says neighborhood association president Carol Sindelar.

She says she issued a challenge to residents.

Get to know the three neighbors across the street, and one on each side, and the three that live behind your house.

That included learning house numbers, exchanging phone numbers and even work schedules. Sindelar says it's helped, as she says crime is down drastically in the neighborhood this year. She says that's because when criminals move in, they dont feel welcome.

If we're seeing it, and we're calling, then they're moving. Sindelar says.

As far as all those shots fired calls, the Chief says they all seem to be related, with 12 to 18 individuals responsible for it all. Police still need help, so if you have any info, you're asked to call them.
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